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POEMS, 



^3 



BY 

WILLIAM COWPER, ESQ. 

OF THE INNER TEMPLE. 

3fn t!)ree t[Mumt^* 

COMPRISING 

c^ l/arieiu of <U^ieced 

NOT INSERTED IN FORMER EDITIONS, 

To which is prefixed 

A BRIEF ACCOUNT OF HIS LIFE. 
VOL. II. 



Sicut aquse tremulum labris nbi lumen ahcnis 
Sole rtpertussum, aut radiantis ima{?ine lunee, 
Omnia pervoHtat late loca, jamque sub auras 
Erigitur, summique ferit laquearia tecti. 

VIRG. .EN. VJir. 
So water, trembling in a polish'd vase, 
Reflects the beam that plays upon its face ; 
The sportive light, uncertain where it falls. 
Now strikes the roof, now flashes on the walls. 



AMHERST, N, H. 

PRINTED BY JOSEPH GUSHING. 

Sold by him at his Bookstore ; by Mannin,^ & Loring No, 5^ 

and by Lincoln S: Edmands, No. 5o, Cornhill, Boston, 

180S. 



ADVERTISEMENT. 






THE history of the following production is 
briefly this :— A lady, fond of blank verse, de- 
manded a poem of that kind from the Author, 
and gave him the sofa for a subject. He obey- 
ed ; and, having much leisure, connected anoth- 
er subject with it ; and, pursuing the train of 
thought to which his situation and turn of mind 
led him, brought forth, at length, instead of the 
trifle, which he at first intended, a serious aflaiy 

—a VOLUME I 

In the Poem on the subject of Education, he 
would be very sorry to stand suspected of hav- 
ing aimed his censure at any particular school. 
His objections are such as naturally apply theniv- 
selves to schools in general. If there were not, 
as for the most part there is, wilful neglect in 
those who manage them, and an omission even 
of such discipline as they are susceptible of, the 
objects are yet too numerous for minute atten- 
tion ; and the aching hearts of ten thousand 
parents, mourning under the bitterest of all dis- 
appointments, attest the truth of the allegation. 
His quarrel, therefore, is with the mischief at 
large, and not with any particular instance of it.r 



CONTENTS. 

THE TASK, IN SIX BOOKS. 

Page. 
Book u The Sofa ^ 

lu The Time-Piece • 37 

III. The Garden 67 

IV. The Winter Evening 97 

V. The Winter Morning Walk . . .127 
vi. The Winter Walk at Noon . . 159 

Tirocinium ; or, a Review o£ Schools . • 195 

The Doves 227 

A Fable 228 

A Comparison 230 

Verses supposed to be written by Alexander 

, Selkirk, during his solitary abode in the Island. 

of Juan Fernandez 231 

On the promotion of Edward Thurlow, Esq. to 

the Lord High Chancellor of England • 233. 

Ode to Peace 234? 

Human Frailty , . 235 

The Modern Patriot 23^ 

Report of an adjudged case not to be found in 

any of the books 238 

On the burning of Lord Mansfield's Library 21-0 
The love of the world reproved, or Hypocrisy 

detected 241 

The Lily and the Rose 2kS 

TGL.. i-u A 2. 



fl. ' CONTENTS- 

Idem Latine Redditum ....... 244* 

The Nightingale and Glow Worm . . . 246 

Votum 247 

On a Goldfinch starved to death in his cage . 248 

The Pine Apple and Bee iild* 

Horace. Book ii. Ode x 250 

A reflection on the foregoing Ode . . . 251 

Translations from Vincent Bourne • . • 252 

The Shrubbery . 258 

Mutual Forbearance .,.....• 259 

The Winter Nosegay ....... 261 

To the Rev. Mr. Newton 262 

Translation of Prior's Chloe and Eupheha • 264^ 

Boadicea, • • • ilfi^^ 

Heroism « • 266 

The Poet, the Oyster, and Sensitive Plant . 270 

On the receipt of my Mother's Picture . . 272: 



THE TASK* 

A POEM 
IK SIX BOOKS. 



ARGUMENT OF THE FIRST BOOK. 

Historical deduction of seats y from the stool to the Sofa,-^ 
A school-boy^ s ramble, — A walk in the country, — Tie 
^cene described* — Rural sounds as ivell as sights delight- 
fuL — Another walk. — Mistake concerning the charms 
of solitude corrected. — Colonnades commended,--^ Alcove^ 
and the 'view from it. — The wilderness. — The grove. ^^ 
The thresher. — The necessity and benefits of exercise. 
"^The works of nature superior tOy and in some instan^ 
ces inimitable by art. — The wearisomeness of what is 
commonly called a life of pleasure. ^'Change of scene 
sometimes expedient.'-^A common described^ and the char-- 
acter of crazv Kate introduced. — Gipsies. -^The bless '^ 
ings of civilized life.^^hat state most favourable to 
virtue. — The South Sea islanders compassionated^ but 
chiefly Omai. — His present state of mind supposed.^ 
Civilized life friendly to virtue^ but not great cities.. — 
Great cities^ and London in parti cular^ allowed their 
due praise y but censured. — Fete champetre.^—The book 
concludes with a reflection on the fatal effects of dissipa-^ 
iion and effeminacy upon our public measures* 



THE TASK. 



BOOK /. 



THE SOFA. 

JL SING the SOFA. I, who lately sang- 

Truth, Hope, and Charity,* and touch'd with awe 

The solemn chords, and with a trembling hand, 

Escap'd with pain from that adventurous flight. 

Now seek repose upon an humbler theme ; 

The theme though humble, yet august and proud 

Th* occasion — ^for the fair commands the song. 

Time was, when clothing sumptuous or for use^ 
Save their own painted skins, our sires had none. 
As yet black breeches were not ; satin smooth, 
Or velvet soft, or plush with shaggy pile :. 
The hardy chief upon the rugged rock 
Washed by the sea, or on tlie grav'ly bank 
Thrown up by wintry torrents roaring loud^ 



* See Poems, Vol. r. 



10 THE TASK. 



BOOK I> 



Fearless of wrong, repos'd his weary strength. 
Those barbarous ages past, succeeded next 
The birth day of invention ; weak at first,' 
Dull in design, and clumsy to perform. 
Joint-stools were then created ; on three legs 
Upborne they stood. Three legs upholding firnv 
A massy slab in fashion square or round. 
On such a stool immortal Alfred sat, 
And sway'd the sceptre of his infant realms f' 
And such in ancient halls and mansions drear 
May still be seen ; but perforated sore, 
And drill'd in holes, the solid oak is found. 
By worms voracious eating through and through* 

At length a generation more refin'd 
Improved the simple plan ; made three legs four. 
Gave them a twisted form vermicular. 
And o'er the seat, with plenteous wadding stufPd, 
Induc'd a splendid cover, green and blue. 
Yellow and red, of tapestry richly wrought 
And w^oven close, or needle-work sublime. 
There might ye see the piony spread wide, 
The full-blown rose, the shepherd and his lass, 
Lap-dog and lambkin with black staring eyes, 
And parrots with twin cherries in their beak. 

Now came the cane from India, smooth and bright 
With nature's varnish ; sever'd into stripes 
That interlaced each other, these supplied 
Of texture firm a lattice-work, that brac'd 
The new machine, and it became a chair,. 



BOOK U THE SOFA. H 

But restless was the chair ; the back erect 
Pistrcss'd the weary loins, that felt no easej 
The slippery seat betrayM the shding part 
That press'd it, and the feet hung dangling down, 
Anxious in vain to find the distant floor. 
These for the rich : the rest, whom fate had plac'd 
In modest mediocrity, content 
With base materials, sat on well tann'd hides, 
Obdurate and unyielding, glassy smooth. 
With here and there a tuft of crimson yarn, 
Or scarlet crewel, in the. cushion fix*d ; 
If cushion might be call'd, what harder seem'd 
Than the firm oak of which the frame was form'4.' 
No want of timber then was felt or fear*d 
In Albion's happy isle. The umber stood 
Ponderous and fix'd by its own massy weight. 
But elbows still were wanting; these, some say, 
An alderman of Crippiegate contriv'd : 
And some ascribe th' invention to a priest, 
Burly and big, and studious of his ease. 
But, rude at first, and not with easy slope 
Receding wide, they press'd against the ribs, 
And bruis'd the side ; and, elevated high. 
Taught the raisM shoulders to invade the ears. 
Long time elaps'd or e'er our rugged sires 0. 

Complain*d, though incommodiously pent in, 
And ill at ease behind. The ladies first 
*Gan murmur, as became the softer sex. 
Ingenious fancy, never better pleas'd, 



12 THE TASX. BOOK U 

Than when employ'd t' accommodate the fair. 
Heard the sweet moan with pity, and dcvis'd 
The soft settee ; one elbow at each end^ 
And in the midst an elbow it receiv'd. 
United yet divided, twain at once, 
So sit two kings of Brentford on one throne ; 
And so two citizens who take the air. 
Close packed and smiling, in a chaise and one. 
But relaxation of the languid frame. 
By soft recumbency of out-stretch'd limbs, 
"Was bliss reserved for happier days. So slow 
The growth of what is excellent ; so hard 
T' attain perfection in this nether world. 
Thus first necessity invented stools, 
Xl^onvenience next suggested elbow chairs* 
And luxur)" th* accomplished sofa last. 

The nurse sleeps sweetly, hir'd to watch the sick^ 
"Whom snoring she disturbs. As sweetly he 
Who quits the coach-box at the midnight hour 
To sleep within the carriage more secure. 
His legs depending at the open door. 
Sweet sleep enjoys jthe curate in his desk. 
The tedious rector drawling o'er his head; 
And sweet the clerk below. But neither sleep 
Of lazy nurse, who snores the sick man dead. 
Nor his who quits the box at midnight hour 
To slumber in the carriage more secure. 
Nor sleep enjoy'd by curate in his desk, 
Nor yet the dozings of the clerk, are sweet, 



BOOK I. THE SOFA. 13 

Compar'd with the repose the sofa yields. 

Oh may I live exempted (while I live 

Guiltless of pamper'd appetite obscene) 

From pangs arthritic, that infest the toe 

Of libertine excess. The sofa suits 

The gouty limb, 'tis true ; but gouty limb. 

Though on a sofa, may I never feel : 

For I have lov'd the rural walk through lanes 

Of grassy swarth, close cropt by nibbling sheep, 

And skirted thick with intertexture firm 

Of thorny boughs ; have lov'd the rural walk 

O'er hills, 4:hrough vallies. and by rivers' brink. 

Ere since a truant boy I pass'd my bounds 

T' enjoy a ramble on the banks of Thames; 

And still remember, not without regret 

Of hours that sorrow since has much endear'd. 

How oft, my slice of pocket store consumed. 

Still hungering, pennyless, and far from home,, 

i fed on scarlet hips and stony haws. 

Or blushing crabs, or berries that imboss 

The bramble, black as jet, or sloes austere. 

Hard fare ! but such as boyish appetite 

Disdains not ; nor the palate, undeprav'-d 

By culinary arts, unsavoury deems* 

No sofa then awaited my return ; 

Nor SOFA then I needed. Youth repairs 

His wasted spirits quickly, by long toil 

Incurring short fatigue ; and, though our years 

As life dechnes speed rapidly away. 

And not a year but pilfers as he goes 

VOL. II. B 



14« T>IE TASK. 



BOOK I* 



Soir.e youthful grace that age would gladly keep ; 

A tooth or auburn lock, and by degrees 

Their length and colour from the locks they spare; 

Th' elastic spring of an unwearied foot 

That mounts the slilc with ease, or leaps the fence, 

That play of lungs, inhaling and again 

Respiring freely the fresh air that makes 

Swift pace or steep ascent no toil to me. 

Mine have not pilfer'd yet ; nor yet impaired 

My relish of fair prospect ; scenes that sooth'd 

Or charm'd me young, no longer young, I find 

Still soothing, and of power to charm me stilL 

And witness, dear companion of m.y walks. 

Whose arm this twentieth winter I perceive 

Fast lock'd in mine, with pleasure such as love^ 

Confirmed by long experience of thy worth 

And well-tried virtues, could alone inspire — 

Witness a joy that thou hast doubled long. 

Thou know'st my praise of nature most sincere^ 

And that my raptures are not conjur'd up 

To serve occasions of poetic pomp, 

But genuine, and art partner of them all. 

How oft upon yon eminence our pace 

Has slacken'd to a pause, and we have borne 

The ruffling wind, scarce conscious that it blew. 

While admiration, feeding at the eye, 

And still unsated, dwelt upon the scene. 

Thence with what pleasure have we just discern'd 

The distant plough slow moving, and beside 

His labouring team, that swerv'd not from the track, 



BOOK r. THE SQFA. 15 

The sturdy swain diminished to a boy I 
Here Ouse, slow winding through a level plain 
Of spacious meads with cattle sprinkled o'er, 
Conducts the eye along his sinuous course 
Delighted. There, fast rooted in their bank> 
Stand, never overlookM, our favourite elms. 
That screen the herdsman's sohtary hut ; 
While far beyond, and overthwart the stream^ 
That, as with molten glass, inlays the vale. 
The sloping land recedes into the clouds j 
Displaying on its varied side the grace 
Of hedge-row beauties numberless, square tower. 
Tall spire, from which the sound of cheerful bells 
Just undulates upon the listening ear. 
Groves, heaths, and smoaldng villages, remote. 
Scenes must be beautiful, which, daily view'd. 
Please daily, and whose novelty survives 
Long knowledge and a scrutiny of years. 
Praise justly due to those that I describe. 

Nor rural sights alone, but rural sounds, 
Exhilarate the spirit, and restore 
The tone of languid nature. Mighty winds. 
That sweep the skirt of some far-spreading wood 
Of ancient growth, make music not unHke 
The dash of ocean on his winding shore. 
And lull the spirit while they iill the mind ; 
Unnumber'd branches waving in the blast. 
And all their leaves fast fluttering, all at once. 
Nor less composure waits upon the roar 
Of distant floods^ or on the softer voice 



16 THE TASK. BOOK % 

Of neighbouring fountain, or of rills that slip 
Through the cleft rock, and, chiming as they fall 
Upon loose pebbles, lose themselves at length 
In matted grass, that with a livelier green 
Betrays the secret of their silent course. 
Nature inanimate employs sweet sounds, 
But animated nature sweeter still, 
To sooth and satisfy the human ear. 
Ten thousand warblers cheer the day, and one 
The livelong night : nor these alone, whose notes 
Nice finger'd art must emulate in vain, 
But cawing rooks, and kites that swim sublime 
In still repeated circles, screaming loud, 
The jay, the pie, and even the boding owl. 
That hails the rising moon, have charms for me. 
Sounds inharmonious in themselves and harsh, 
Yet heard in scenes where peace forever reigns^ 
And only there, please highly for their sake* 

Peace to the artist, whose ingenious thought 
DevisM the weather-house, that useful toy ! 
Fearless of humid air and gathering rainsy 
Forth steps the man — an emblem of myself ! 
More delicate, his timourous mate retires. 
When winter soaks the fields, and female feet. 
Too weak to struggle with tenacious clay^ 
Or ford the rivulets, are best at homey 
The task of new discoveries falls on me. 
At such a season, and with such a charge, 
Once went I forth ; and found, till then unknown, 
A cottage, whither oft we since repair ; 



BOOK I. THE SOFA. 17 

*Tis percVd upon the green-hill top, but close 
Environ'd with a ring of branching elms 
That overhang the thatch, itself unseen 
Peeps at the vale below ; so thick beset 
With foHage of such dark redundant growth, 
I call'd the low-roof 'd lodge tliQ J?easan(*s nest. 
And, hidden as it is, and far remote 
From such unpleasing sounds as haunt the ear 
In village or in town, the bay of curs 
Incessant, clinking hammers, grinding wheels, 
And infants, clamourous, whether pleas'd or pain'd^ 
Oft have I wish'd the peaceful covert mine. 
Here, I have said, at least I should possess 
The poet^s treasure, silence, and indulge 
The dreams of fancy, tranquil and secure. 
Vain thought ! the dweller in that still retreat 
Dearly obtains the refuge it affords* 
Its elevated site forbids the wretch 
To drink sweet waters of the chrystal well j 
He dips his bowl into the weedy ditch, 
And, heavy laden, brings his beverage home. 
Far fetch'd and httle worth : nor seldom waits> 
Dependant on the baker's punctual call, 
To hear his creaking paniers at the door, 
Angry and sad, and his last crust consumed* 
So farewel envy of the peasant's nest I 
If solitude make scant the means of life^ 
Society for me ! — thou seeming sweet, 
Be still a pleasing object in my view j 
My visit still, but never mine abode* 
e2 



18 THE TASK, BOOK I. 

Not distant far, a length of colonade 
Invites us, monument of ancient taste. 
Now scorn'd, but worthy of a better fatCr 
Our fathers knew the value of a screen 
From sultry suns ; and, in their shaded walks 
And long-protracted bowers, enjoy'd at noon 
The gloom and coolness of declining day. 
We bear our shades about us f. self-depriv'd 
Of other screen, the thin umbrella spread^ 
And range an Indian waste without a tree. 
Thanks to Benevolus* — ^he spares me yet ^, 
These chesnuts ranged in corresponding lines ; 
And, though himself so polishM, still reprieves 
The obsolete proHxity of shade. 

Descending now (but cautious, lest too fast) 
A sudden steep, upon a rustic bridge 
We pass a gulf, in which the willows dip 
Their pendant boughs, stooping as if to drink. 
Hence, ankle deep in moss and flowery thymcj. 
We mount again, and feel at every step 
Our foot half sunk in hillocks green and soft, 
Rais'd by the mole, the miner of the soil. 
He, not unhke the great ones of mankind, 
Disfigures earth ; and, plotting in the dark. 
Toils much to earn a monumental pile. 
That may record the mischiefs he has done. 

The summit gain'd, behold the proud alcove 
That crowns it ; yet not all its pride secures 



* John Courtney Throckmorton, Esq. of Weston Uoderwooi!» 



BOOK I. THE SOFA. 19 

The grand retreat from injuries impressed 

By rural carvers, who with knives deface 

The pannels, leaving an obscure, rude name. 

In characters uncouth, and spelt amiss. 

So strong the zeal t* immortalize himself V 

Beats in the breast of man, that even a few, 

Few transient years, won from th' abyss abhorr'd 

Of blank obhvion, seem a glorious prize. 

And even to a clown. Now roves the eye ; 

And, posted on this speculative height, 

Exults in its command. The sheep-fold here 

Pours out its fleecy tenants o*er the glebe. 

At first progressive as a stream, they seek 

The middle field ; but scattered by degrees. 

Each to his choice, soon whiten all the land. 

There, from the sun-burnt hay-field, homeward creeps 

The loaded wain ; while, lighten'd of its charge. 

The wain that meets it passes swiftly by ; 

The boorish driver leaning o'er his team 

Vociferous, and impatient of delay. 

Nor less attractive is the woodland scene. 

Diversified vdth trees of every growth, 

Alike, yet various. Here the grey smooth trunks 

Of ash, or lime, or beech, distinctly shine, 

Within the twilight of their distant shades ; 

There, lost behind a rising ground, the wood 

Seems sunk, and shortened to its topmost boughs. 

No tree in all the grove but has it charms. 

Though each its hue p eculiar ; paler some. 

And of a wannish grey ; the willow such,. 

And poplar, that v6ili silver lines hisleaf, 



so THE TASK. 



BOOK l» 



And ash far stretching his umbrageous arm f 

Of deeper green the elm ; and deeper still, 

Lord of the woods, the long-surviving oak. 

Some glossy Jeav'd, and shining in the sun, 

The maple, and the beech of oily nuts 

Prolific, and the lime at dewy eve 

Diffusing odours : nor unnoted pass 

The sycamore, capricious in attire, 

Now green, now tawny, and ere autumn yet 

Have chang'd the woods, in scarlet honours bright. 

O'er these, but far beyond (a spacious map 

Of hill and valley interpos'd between) 

The Ouse, dividing the well water'd land, 

Now glitters in the sun, and now retires, 

As bashful, yet impatient to be seen. 

Hence the declivity is sharp and short, 
And such the re-ascent ; between them weeps 
A Httle naiad her impoverished urn 
All summer long, which winter fills again. 
The folded gates would bar my progress now, 
But that the lord* of this enclosed demesne^ 
Communicative of the good he owns. 
Admits me to a share ; the guiltless eye 
Commits no wrong, nor wastes what it enjoys. 
Refreshing change ! where now the blazing sun ? 
By short transition we have lost his glare, 
And stepp'd at once into a cooler chme, 
Ye fallen avenues I once more I mourn 



* See the foregoing not^. 



BOOK i« ^ THE SOFA. 21 

Your fate unmerited, once more rejoice, 
That yet a remnant of your race survives. 
How airy and how light the graceful arch^ 
Yet awful as the consecrated roof 
Re-echoing pious anthems ! while beneath 
The chequer'd earth seems restless as a flood 
Brush'd by the wind. So sportive is the light 
Shot through the boughs, it dances as they dance^ 
Shadow and sunshine intermingling quick. 
An'!', darkening and enlightening, as the leaves 
Play wanton, every moment, every spot. 

And now, with nerves new brac'd and spirits 
cheer'd, 
We tread the wilderness, whose well-rolPd walks, 
With curvature of slow and easy sweep — 
Deception innocent — give ample space 
To narrow bounds. The grove receives us next j 
Between the upright shafts of whose tall elms 
We may discern the thresher at his task. 
Thump after thump resounds the constant flail. 
That seems to swing uncertain, and yet falls 
Full on the destin'd ear. Wide flies the chaff. 
The rustling straw sends up a frequent mist 
Of atoms, sparkling in the noon-day beam. 
Come hither, ye that press your beds of down. 
And sleep not : see him sweating o'er his bread 
Before he eats it. — *Tis the primal curse. 
But softened into mercy ; made the pledge 
Of cheerful days, and nights without a groaii.. 



SS' THE TA5K. ^ BOQK F. 

By ceaseless actioaall that is subsists. 
Constant rotation of th' unwearied wheel 
That nature rides upon> maintains her health, 
Her beauty, her fertihty. She dreads 
An instant's pause, and lives but while she moves^ 
Its own revolvency upholds the world. 
Winds from all quarters agitate the air^ 
And fit the limpid element for use, 
Else noxious : oceans, rivers, lakes and streams^ 
All feel the freshening impulse, and are cleans'd 
By restless undulation : even the oak 
Thrives by the rude concussion of the storm i 
He seems indeed indignant, and to feel 
Th* impression of the blast with proud disdain,. 
Frowning, as if in his unconscious arm 
He held the thunder : but the monarch oweS" 
His firm stability to what he scorns — 
More fix'd below, the more disturbed above. 
The huv, by which all creatures else are bound. 
Binds man the lord of alL Himself derives 
No mean advantage from a kindred cause, 
From strenuous toil his hours of sweetest ease. 
The sedentary stretch their lazy length 
Wlien custom bids, but no refreshment find, 
For none they need : the languid eye, the cheek 
Deserted of its bloom., the flaccid, shrunk. 
And withered muscle, and the vapid soul, 
Reproach their owner with that love of rest. 
To which he forfeits even the rest he loves. 
Not such the akrt and active. Measure life 



£00K 1. THE SOFA, 3$ 

By its true worth, the comforts it aiFords, 
And theirs alone seems worthy of the name. 
Good health, and, its associate in most, 
Good temper ; spirits prompt to undertake. 
And not soon spent, though in an arduous task ; 
The powers of fancy and strong thought are theirs | 
Even age itself seems privileged in them, 
With clear exemption from its own defects. 
A sparkling eye beneath a wrinkled front 
The veteran shows, and, gracing a grey beard 
With youthful smiles, descends toward the grave 
Sprightly, and old almost without decay. 

Like a coy maiden, ease, when courted most, 
Farthest retires— an idol, at whose shrine 
Who oftenest sacrifice are favoured least. 
The love of nature, and the scene she draws, 
Is nature's dictate. Strange ! there should be found^ 
Who, self-imprison 'd in their proud saloons. 
Renounce the odours of the open field 
For the unscented fictions of the loom ; 
Who, satisfied with only penciled scenes, 
Prefer to the performance of a God 
Th' inferior wonders of an artist's hand i 
Lovely indeed the mimic works of art ; 
But nature's works far lovelier. I admire- 
None more admires — the painter's magic skill. 
Who shows me that which I shall never see. 
Conveys a distant country into mine. 
And throws Italian light on English walls ; 
jBut imitative strokes can do no more 



24 THE TASK. BOOK I. 

Than please the eye — sweet nature every sense. 
The air salubrious of her lofty hills, 
The cheering fragrance of her dewy vales, 
And music of her woods — no works of matt 
May rival these ; these all bespeak a power 
Peculiar, and exclusively her own. 
Beneath the open sky she spreads the feast % 
'Tis free to all — 'Tis every day renew'd 5 
Who scorns it starves deservedly at home. 
He does not scorn it, who, imprison'd long 
In some unwholesome dungeon, and a prey 
To sallow sickness, which the vapours, dank 
And clammy, of his dark abode, have bred, 
Escapes at last to liberty and light : 
His cheek recovers soon its iiealthful liue ; 
His eye reluniines its extinguish'd fires ; 
He walks, he leaps, he runs — is wing'd with joy, 
And riots in the sweets of every breeze. 
He does not scorn it, who has long endur'd 
A fever's agonies, and fed on drugs. 
Nor yet the mariner, his blood inflamed 
With acrid salts ; his very heart athirst 
To gaze at nature in her green array. 
Upon the ship's tall side he stands, possessed 
With visions prompted by intense desire : 
Fair fields appear below, such as he left 
Far distant, such as he would die to find- 
He seeks them headlong, and is seen no more. 

The spleen is seldom felt where Flora reigns ; 
The lowering eye, the petulance, the frown, 



SOOK I. THE SOFA. ^5 

And sullen sadness, that o'ershade, distort, 

And mar the face of beauty, when no cause 

For such immeasureable woe appears. 

These Flora banishes, and gives the fair 

Sweet smiles, and bloom less transient than her owa. 

It is the constant revolution, stale 

And tasteless, of the same repeated joys. 

That palls and satiates, and makes languid life 

A pedlar's pack, that bows the bearer down. 

Health suffers, and the spirits ebb ; the heart 

Recoils from its own choice — at the full feast 

Is famishM — finds no music in the song, 

No smartness in the jest ; and wonders wiiy. 

Yet thousands still desire to journey on. 

Though halt, and weary of the path they tread* 

The paralytic, who can hold her cards, 

But cannot play them, borrows a friend's hand 

To deal and shuffle, to divide and sort, 

Her mingled suits and sequences ; and sits. 

Spectatress both and spectacle, a sad 

And silent cypher, while her proxy plays. 

Others are dragg'd into the crowded room 

Between supporters ; and, once seated, sit. 

Through dow^nright inability to rise, 

Till the stout bearers lift the corps again. 

These speak a loud memento. Yet even thesft 

Themselves love life, and cling to it, as he 

That overhangs a torrent to a twig. 

They love it, and yet Icatli it ; fear to die. 

Yet scorn the purposes for which they live* 

tOL iU Q^ 



?G THE TASK. BOOK 1. 

Then \vherefore not renounce them ? No — the dread, 
The slavish dread of soHtude, that breeds 
Reflection and remorse, the fear of shame, 
And their inveterate habits, all forbid. 

Whom call we gay ? That honour has been long 
The boast of mere pretenders to the name. 
The innocent are gay — the lark is gay. 
That dries his feathers, saturate with dew, 
Beneath the rosy cloud, while yet the beams 
Of day-spring over-shoot his humble nest. 
The peasant too, a witness of his song, 
Pliinself a songster, is as gay as he. 
But save me from the gaiety of those 
Whose head-aches nail them to a noon-day bed^ 
And save me too from theirs whose haggard eyes 
Flash desperation, and betray their pangs 
For property stripped off by cruel chance ; 
From gaiety that fills the bones with pain. 
The mouth with blasphemy, the heart with woe. 

The earth was made so various, that the mind 
Of desultory man, studious of change. 
And pleasM with novelty-, might be indulged. 
Prospects, however lovely, may be seen 
Till half their beauties fade ; the weary sight, 
Too well acquainted with their smiles, slides off, 
Fastidious, seeking less familiar scenes. 
Then snug enclosures in the sheltered vale. 
Where frequent hedges intercept the eye, 
Dehght us ; happy to renounce awhile. 
Not scnsekss of its charm»; what still we love, 



K 



SOOK r. THE SOFA, 9^ 

That such short absence may endear it more. 
Then forests, or the savage rock, may please^ 
Tha^" hides the sea-mew in his hollow clefts 
Above the reach of man. His hoary head. 
Conspicuous many a league, the mariner, 
Bound homeward, and in hope already there. 
Greets with three cheers exulthig. At his wals£ 
A girdle of half-withered shrubs he shows, 
And at his feet the baffled billows die. 
The common, overgrown with fern, and rough 
With prickly gorse, that, shapeless and deform'd,- 
And dangerous to the touch, has yet its bloom, 
And decks itself with ornaments of gold, 
Yields no unpleasing ram.ble ; there tlie turf 
Smells fresh, and, rich in odoriferous herbs 
And fungous fruits of earth, regfales the sense 
With luxury of unexpected sweets.. 

There often wanders one, whom better days 
Saw better clad, in cloak of satin trimm'd 
With lace, and hat with splendid ribband bounds 
A serving maid was she, and fell in love 
With one who left her, wenl to sea, and died. 
Her fancy followed him through foaming waves 
To distant shores ; and she would sit aad weep 
i^t what a sailor suffers ; fancy, too, 
Delusive most where warmest wishes are. 
Would oft anticipate his glad return. 
And dream, of transports she was not to know. 
She heard the doleful tidings of his death— 
And never gmil'd a^aiu 1 and now she roams 



28 



THE TASK, BOOK I. 



The dreary waste ; there spends the livelong day, 

Ajid there, unless when charity forbids, 

The hvelong night. A tatter'd apron hides, 

Worn as a cloak, and hardly hides, a gown 

More tatter'd still ; and both but ill conceal 

A bosom heav'd with never-ceasing sighs, 

She begs an idle pin of all she meets, 

And hoards them in her sleeve ; but needful food, 

Though press'd with hunger oft, or comelier clothes, 

Tho' pinch'd with cold, asks never. — Kate is craz'd I 

■ I see a column of slow rising smoke 
O'ertop the lofty wood that skirts the wild, 
A vagabond and useless tribe there eat 
Their miserable meal. A kettle, slung 
Between two poles upon a stick transverse. 
Receives the morsel — iiesh obscene of dog. 
Or vermin, or, at best, of cock purlcin'd 
I'rom bis accustom'd perch. Hard-faring race ! 
They pick their fuel out of every hedge, 
Which, kindled with dry leaves, just saves unquench'd 
The spark of life. The sportive wind blows wide 
Their fluttering rags, and shows a tawny skin, 
The vellum of the pedigree they claim. 

Great skill have they in palmistry, and mor« 
To conjure clean av>'ay the gold they touch, 

Conveying w^orthless dross into its place ; 

Loud wlien they beg, dumb only when they steai. 

Strange ! that a creature rational, and cast 

Inhuman mould, should brutalize by choice 

His xiiitnre j and, though capable of art* 



r. 2ii. Vol.n^ 




y> 



^///- /.> 






BOOK U THE SCFA. 2i>' 

By which the world might profit and himself, 

Self banish'd from society, prefer 

Such squalid sloth to honourable toil ! 

Yet even these, though, feigning sickness oft, 

They swathe the forehead, drag the limping limb^ 

And vex their flesh with artificial sores, 

Can change their whine into a mirthful note 

When safe occasion oft'ers ; and, with dance. 

And music of the bladder and the bag, 

Beguile their woes, and make the woods resound. 

Such health and gaiety of heart enjoy 

The houseless rovers of the sylvan world ; 

And, breathing wholesome air and wandering much, 

Need other physic none to heal th' effects 

Of loathsome diet, penury, and cold. 

Blest he, though undistinguished from the croud 
By wealth or dignity, who dwells secure, 
Where man, by nature fierce, has laid aside 
His fierceness, having learnt, though slow to learn. 
The manners and the arts of civil life. 
His wants, indeed, are many ; but supply 
Is obvious, plac'd within the easy reach 
Of temperate wishes and industrious hands. 
Here virtue thrives as in her proper soil ; 
Not rude and surly, and beset with thorns. 
And terrible to sight, as when slie spriiigs 
(If e'er she spring spontaneous) in remote 
And barbarous climes, where violence prevails,- 
And strength is lord of all ; but gentle, kind. 
By culture tam'd, by liberty refreshed, 
€ 2 



so THE TASK* BOOK X. 

And all her fruits by radiant truth matured. 
War and the chase engross the savage whole 5 
War follow 'd for revenge, or to supplant 
The envied tenants of some happier spot. 
The chase for sustenance, precarious trust ! 
His hard condition with severe constraint 
Binds all his faculties, forbids all growth 
Of wisdom, proves a school in which he learnt 
Sly circumvention, unrelenting hate, 
Mean self attachment, and scarce aught beside. 
Thus fare the shivering natives of the north, 
And thus the rangers of the western world, 
Where it advances far into the deep, 
Towards th' antarctic. Even the favour'd isles, 
So lately found, although the constant sun 
Cheer all their seasons with a grateful smile. 
Can boast but little virtue ; and, inert 
Through plenty, lose in morals what they gain 
in manners— victims of luxurious ease. 
These therefore I can pity, plac'd remote 
From all that science traces, art inver.ts. 
Or inspiration teaches ; and enclosed 
In boundless oceans, never to be passed 
By navigators uninform'd as they. 
Or ploughed perhaps by British bark again : 
But, far beyond the rest, and wnth most cause. 
Thee, gentle savage !* whom no love of thee 
Or thine, but curiosity perhaps, 



* Omai. 



BOOK t. THE SOFA, ^ 

Oi else vain glory, prompted us to draw 

Forth from thy native bowers, to show thee her« 

With what superior skill we can abuse 

The gifts of Providence, and squander life. 

The dream is past ; and thou hast found agaia 

Thy cocoas and bananas, palms and yams, 

And homestall thatch'd with leaves. But hast thou 

found 
Their former charms ? And, having seen our state.. 
Our palaces, our ladies, and our pomp 
Of equipage, our gardens, and our sports. 
And heard our music ; are thy simple friends. 
Thy simple fare, and all thy plain delights, 
As dear to thee as once ? And have thy joys 
Lost nothing by comparison with ours ? 
Rude as thou art, (for we return thee rude 
And ignorant, except of outward show) 
I cannot think thee yet so dull of heart 
And spiritless, as never to regret 
Sweets tasted here, and left as soon as known. 
Methinks I see thee straying on the beach, 
And asking of the surge that bathes thy foot, 
If ever it has wash'd our distant shore. 
I see thee weep, and thine are honest tears, 
A patriot's for his country : thou art sad 
At thought of her forlorn and abject state, 
From which no power of thine can raise her up. 
Thus, fancy paints thee, and, though apt to err, 
Perhaps errs little when she paints thee thus. 
She tells me, too, that duly every morn 



^ THE TASK. BOOK.U 

Thou cllmb'st the mountain top, with eager eye 
Exploring far and wide the watery w^aste 
For sight of ship from England. Every speck 
Seen in the dim horizon turns thee pale 
With conflict of contending hopes and fears. 
But comes at last the dull and dusky eve, 
And sends thee to thy cabin, well prepared 
To dream all night ofw^hatthe day denied. 
Alas ! expect it not. We found no bait 
To tempt us in thy country. Doing good^ 
Disinterested good, is not our trade. 
We travel far 'tis true, but not for naught ; 
And muGt be brib'd, to compass earth again, 
By other hopes and richer fruits than yours. 

But, though true worth and virtue in the mild 
And genial soil of cultivated hfe 
Thrive most, and may perhaps thrive only there, 
Yet not in cities oft : in proud, and gay, 
And gain-devoted cities. Thither flow, 
As to a common and most noisome sew'r,. 
The dregs and feculence of every land. 
In cities foul example on most minds 
Begets its likeness. Rank abundance breeds 
In gross and pamper'd cities sloth and lust. 
And wantonness and gluttonous excess. 
In cities vice is hidden with m^ost ease, 
Or seen with least reproach ; and virtue, taught 
By frequent lapse, can hope no trium.ph there 
Beyond th* achievment of successful flight. 
I do confess them nurseries of the arts. 



BOOK I. 



THE SOFA. S* 



In which they flourish most ; where, in the beams 

Of warm encouragement, and in the eye 

Of pubhc note, they reach their perfect size. 

Such London is, by taste and wealth proclaim'd 

The fairest capital of all the world, 

By riot and incontinence the woi'St. 

There, touch 'd by Reynolds, a. dull blank becomes- 

A lucid mirror, in which nature sees 

All her reflected features. Bacon there 

Gives more than female beauty to a stone. 

And Chatham's eloquence to marble lips. 

Nor does the chissel occupy alone 

The powers of sculpture, but the style as much j. 

Each province of her art her equal care. 

With nice incision of her guided steel 

She ploughs a brazen field, and clothes a soil. 

So sterile with what charms soever she will. 

The richest scenery and the loveliest forms. 

Where tinds philosophy her eagle eye, 

With which she gazes at yon burning disk 

Undazzled, and detects and counts his spots ? 

In London : where her implements exact, 

With which she calculates, computes, and scanty 

All distance, motion, magnitude, and now 

Measures an atom, and now girds a world ? 

In London. Where has commerce such a mart,. 

So rich, sothrong'd, sodrain'd, and so supplied, 

As London — opulent, enlarg'd, and still 

Increasing, London ? Babylon of old 



$4 THE TASK. EQOK. |^ 

Not more the glory of the earth than she, 

A more accomphsh'd world's chief glory now. 

She has her praise. Now mark a spot or two,. 
That so much beauty would do well to purge ; 
And show this queen of cities, that so fair 
May yet be foul ; so witty, yet not wise. 
It is not seemly, nor of good report, 
That she is slack in discipline ; more prompt 
T' avenge than to prevent the breach of law : 
That she is rigid in denouncing death 
On petty robbers, and indulges life 
And liberty, and oft times honour too, 
To peculators of the public gold : 
That thieves at home must hang ; but he that putt 
Into his overgorgM and bloated purse 
The wealth of Indian provinces, escapes. 
Nor is it well, nor can it come to good, 
That, through profane and infidel contempt 
Of holy writ, she has presum'd t' annul 
And abrogate, as roundly as she may, 
The total ordinance and will of God ; 
Advancing fashion to the post of truth,. 
And centring all authority in modes 
And customs of her own, till sabbath rites 
Have dwindled into unrespected fonns, 
And knees and hassocks are well nigh divorc'd. 

God made the country, and man made the townv 
What wonder then that health and virtue, gifts 
That can alone make sweet the bitter draught 
That life holds out to all> should most abound 



SOOK I. THE SOFA. 3S 

And least be threat en'd in the fields and groves ? 
Possess ye, therefore, ye, who, borne about 
In chariots and sedans, know no fatigue 
-But that of idleness, and taste no scenes 
But such as art contrives, possess ye still 
Your element ; there only can ye shine ; 
Thereonly minds hke yours, can do no harm. 
Our groves were planted to console at noon 
The pensive wanderer in their shades. At ev« 
The moon-beam, sliding softly in between 
The sleeping leaves, is all the light they wish, 
Birds war-bling all the music. We can spare 
The splendour of your lamps ; they but eclipse 
iOur softer satelHte. Your songs confound 
Our more harmonious notes ; the thrush depart* 
Scar'd, and th' offended nightingale is mute. 
There is a pubHc mischief in your mirth ; 
It plagues your country. Folly such as yours, 
Grac'd with a sword, and worthier of a fan, 
Has made, what enemies could ne'er have done, 
vOur arch of empire, steadfast but for you, 
A mutilated structure, soen to fall, 



ARGUMENT OF THE SECOND BOOK. 

McflecUGTis suggested hy the conclusicn of the former hooh.^-^ 
P eace among the naUons recommended^ on the ground of 
their common fUo*ivsh'p in sorrow. — Prodigies enume* 
rated. — Sicilian earthquakes, — Man rendered obnoxious 
to these calamities hy sin. — God the agent in them.-^ 
The philosophy that stops at secondary causes reproved^ 
Our oiun /ate miscarriages account dfor, — Satirical notice 
taken of our trips to Fontainbleau, — But the pulpit y 
not satire^ the proper engine of reformation. — Th^ Reis- 
er end Ad'vertiser of engraved sermons. — Petitmaitrc 
Parson. — The good preacher, — Pictures of a theatrical 
elerical coxcomb, — Story tellers and jesters in the pulpit 
reproved. — j4postrophe to popular applause, — Retailers of 
ancient philosophy expostulated 'with. — Sum of the nvhok 
matter. — Effects of sacerdotal mismanagement on the 
laity, — Their folly and extravagance. — The mischiefs 
cf profusion. — Profusion itself with all its consequent 
ivilsy ascribed^ as to its principal cause^ to the wani of 
discipline in the universities* 



THE TASK, 



BOOK II. 



TH£ TIME.PIECK 

^i'H for a lodge in some vast wilderness, 
Some boundless contiguity of shade, 
Where rumour of oppression and deceit. 
Of unsuccessful or successful war. 
Might never reach me more. My ear is pain'd^ ^ 
My soul is sick with every day's report 
Of wrong and outrage with which earth is £lPd. 
There is no flesh in man's obdurate heart. 
It does not feel for man ; the natural bond 
Of brotherhood is sever'd as the fJax 
That falls asunder at the touch of fire> 
He finds his fellow guilty of a skin 
Not coloured like his own ! and, having power 
T' enforce the wrong, for such a worthy cause 
Dooms and devotes him as his lawful prey. 
Lands intersected by a narrow frith 
VOL. n. D 



38 THE TASK. 



BOOK H; 



Abhor each other. Mountain^ interpos'd 
Make enemies of nations, who had else. 
Like kindred drops, been mingled into one. 
Thus man devotes his brother, and destroys ; 
And, worse than all, and most to be deplor'd. 
As hum.an nature's broadest, foulest blot. 
Chains him, and tasks him, and exacts his sweat 
With stripes, that mercy, with a bleeding heart. 
Weeps when she sees iniiicted on a beast. 
Then what is man ? And wiiat man, seeing this. 
And having human feelings, does not blush, 
And hang his head, to think himself a man ? , 
I would not have a slave to till my ground, 
To cany me, to fan me while I sleep, 
And tremble when I wake, for all the wealth 
That sinews bought and sold have ever earn'd. 
No : dear as freedom is, and in my heart's 
Just estimation priz'd above all price, 
I had XTxUch rather be myself the slave. 
And wear the bonds, than fasten them on him. 
We have no slaves at home.-— Then w^hy abroad i 
And they themselves, once ferried o'er the wave 
That parts us, are emancipate and loos'd. 
Slaves cannot breathe in England ; if their lungg 
Receive our air, that moment they are free ; 
They touch our country, and their shackles falL 
That's noble, and bespeaks a nation proud 
And jealous of the blessing. Spread itjhen, 
And let it circulate through every vein 



•SOOK n* THE TIME-PIECE. 3» 

OF all your empire ; that where Britain's power 
Is felt, mankind may feel her mercy too. 

Sure there is need of social intercourse. 
Benevolence, and peace, and mutual aid. 
Between the nations, in a world that seems 
To toll the death-bell of its own decease. 
And by the voice of all its elements 
To preach the general doam.*" When were the wind^ 
l^et slip with such a warrant to destroy ? 
When did the waves so haughtily o'erleap 
Their ancient barriers, deluging the dry ? 
Fires from beneath, and meteorsf from above, 
Portentous, unexampled, unexplained, 
Have kindled beacons in the skies ; and th' old 
And crazy earth has had her shaking fits 
More frequent, and forgone her usual rest* 
Is it a time to wTangle, when the props 
And pillars of our planet seem to fail, 
And nature with a dim and sickly eye:{: 
To wait the close of all ? But jjrant her end 
Moie distant, and that prophecy demands 
A longer respite, unaccomplish'd yet ; 
Still they are frowning signals, and bespeak 
Displeasure in h i s breast who smites the earth 
Or heals it, makes it languish or rejoice. 



* Alluding to the calamiiies at Jimiaica. 
f August i8, 1783. 

X AUudins to the fog that covered both Europe and Aitx 
iJuniig the v»'hole summer cf 178^. 



40 THE TASK* 



BOOK lU 



And '^tis but seemly, that, where all deserve 
And stand expos'd by common peccancy 
To what no few have feh, there should be peace. 
And brethren in calamity should love. 

Alas for Sicily ! rude fragments no\T 
Lie scatter'd where the shapely column stood. 
Her palaces are dust. In ail her streets 
The voice of singing and the sprightly chord 
Are silent. Revelry, and dance, and show 
Suffer a syncope and solemn pause ; 
While God performs upon the trembling stag"? 
Of his own works his dreadful part alone. 
How does the earth receive him ? — With what signs 
Of gratulation and dehght, her King ? 
Pours she not all her choicest fruits abroad, 
Her sweetest flowers, her aromatic gums, 
Disclosing paradise where'er he treads ? 
She quakes at his approach. Her hollow womb, 
Conceiving thunders, through a thousand deeps 
And fiery caverns roars beneath his foot. 
The hills move hghtly, and the mountains smoke, 
for he has touch'd them. From th' extremest point 
Of elevation down into th' abyss 
His wn*ath is busy, and his frown is felt. 
The rocks fall headlong, and the vallies rise, 
The rivers die into offensive pools, 
And, charg'd with putrid verdure, breathe a gross 
And mortal nuisance into all the air. 
What solid was, by transformation strange, 
Grows fluid ; and the fix'd and rooted earthy 



BOOK II. 



THE TIME.PIECE. 41 



Tormented into billows, heaves and swells, 
Or with vortiorinous and hideous whirl 

o 

Sucks down its prey insatiable. Immense 
The tumult and the overthrow, the pangs 
And agonies of human and of brute 
Multitudes, fugitive on every side, 
And fugitive in vain. The sylvan scene 
Migrates uplifted ; and, with all its soil 
Ahghting in far distant fields, finds out 
A new possessor, and survives the change. 
Ocean has caught the frenzy, and, upwrought 
To an enormous and o'erbearing height, 
Not by a mighty wind, but by that voice 
Which winds and weaves obey, invades the shore 
Resistless, Never such a sudden flood, 
Upridg'd so high, and sent on such a charge, 
Possess'd an inland scene. Where now the throng 
That press'd the beach, and hasty to depart, 
Look'd to the sea for safety ? They are gone, 
Gone with the refluent wave into the deep— 
A prince with half his people ! Ancient towers, 
And roofs embattled high, the gloomy scenes 
Where beauty oft and letter'd worth consume 
Life in the unproductive shades of death, 
Fall prone : the pale inhabitants come forth. 
And, happy in their unforeseen release 
From all the rigours of restraint, enjoy 
The terrors of the day that sets them free. 
Who then, that has thee, would not hold thee fast^ 
Freedom ! whom they that lose thee so regret, 
D 2 



48 THE TASK, ftO0K>I}. 

That even a judgment, making way for tliee, 
Seems in their eyes a mercy for thy sake. 

Such evil sin hath wrought ; and such a flame 
Kindled in heaven, that it burns down to earth. 
And, in the furious inquest that it makes 
On God's behalf, lays waste his fairest works. 
The very elements, though each be meant 
The minister of man, to serve his wants. 
Conspire against him. With his breath he draws 
A plague into his blood ; and cannot use 
Life's necessary means, but he must die. 
Storms rise t' o'crwhelm him ; or, if stormy windf 
Rise not, the waters of the deep shall rise. 
And, needing none assistance of the storm, 
Shall roll themselves ashore, and reach him there. 
The earth shall shake him out of all his holds. 
Or make his hou e his grave ; nor so content,. 
Shall counterfeit the motions of the flood. 
And drown him in her dry and dusty gulfs. 
What then I were they the wicked above all, 
And we the righteous, wliose fast anchored isle 
Mov'd not, while theirs was rock'd, like a light skiflF, 
The sport of every wave ? No : none are clear, 
And none than we more guilty. But, where all 
Stand chargeable wath guilt, and to the shafts 
Of wrath obnoxious, God may choose his mark ; 
May punish, if he please, the less, to w^arn 
The more mahgnant. If he spar'd not them. 
Tremble and be amaz'd at thine escape. 
Far guiltier England, lest he spare not thee ! 



BOOK II, THE TIME-PIECE. 49 

; Happy the man who sees a God employed 
In all the good and ill that chequer life I 
Resolving all events, with their effects 
And manifold results, into the will 
And arbitration wise of the Supreme, 
Did not his eye rule all things, and intend 
The least of our concerns (since from the least 
The greatest oft originate ;) could chance 
Find place in his dominion, or dispose 
One lawless particle to thwart his plan ; 
Then God might be surpris'd, and unforeseen 
Contingence might alarm him, and disturb 
The smooth and equal course of his affairs. 
This truth philosophy, though eagle-ey'd 
In nature's tendencies, oft overlooks ; 
And, having found his instrument, forgets, 
Or disregards, or more presumptuous still, 
Denies the power that wields it. God proclaim* 
His hot displeasure against foohsh men, 
That live an atheist life : involves the heaven 
In tempests ; quits his grasp upon the winds, 
And gives them all their fury ; bids a plague 
Kindle a fiery boil upon the skin, 
And putrify the breath of blooming health. 
He calls for famine, and the meagre fiend 
Blows mildew from between his shrivePd lips, 
And taints the golden ear. He springs his mines^ 
And desolates a nation at a blast. 
Forth steps the spruce philosopher, and tells 
Of homogeneal and discordant springs 
And principles ; of causes, how they work 



41 TrtE TASK, lOOK !I. 

By necessary laws their sure efiTects ; 

Of action and reaction. He has found 

The source of the disease that nature feels, 

And bids the world take heart and banish fear. 

Thou fool ! will thy discovery of the cause 

Suspend th' effect, or heal it ? Has net God 

Still wrought by means since first he made the world ? 

And did he not of old employ his means 

To drown it ? What is his creation less 

Than a capacious reservoir of means 

Form'd for his use, and ready at his will ? 

Go, dress thine eyes with eye-salve ; ask of him. 

Or ask of whomsoever he has taught ; 

And learn, though late, the genuine cause of all. 

England, with all thy faults, I love thee still— 
My country ! and, while yet a nook is left 
Where English minds and manners may be found, 
Shall be constrained to love thee. Though thy clime 
Be fickle, and thy year most part deform'd 
V/ith dripping rains, or withered by a frost, 
I would not yet exchange thy sullen skies. 
And fields without a -flower for warmer France 
With all her vines ; nor for Ausonia's groves 
Of golden fruitage, and her myrtle bowers. 
To shake thy senate, and from heights sublime 
Of patriot eloquence to flash down fire 
Upon thy foes, was never meant my task : 
But I can feel thy fortunes, and partake 
Thy joys and sorrows, with as true a heart 
As any thunderer there. Aad I can feel 



BOOK II. THE TIME-PIECE. 45 

Thy follies too ; and with a just disdain 

Frown at efFe mi nates, whose very looks 

Reflect dishonour on the land I love. 

How, in the name* of soldiership and sense, 

Should England prosper, when such things, as smooth 

And tender as a girl, all essenc'd o'er 

With odours, and as profligate as sweet ; 

Who sell their laurel for a myrtle wreath, 

And love when they should fight ; when such as these 

Presume to lay their hand upon the ark 

Of her magnificent and awful cause ? 

Time was when it was praise and boast enough 

In every clime, and travel where we might, 

That we were born her children. Praise enough 

To fill th' ambition of a private man, 

That Chatham's language was his mother tongue. 

And Wolfe's great name compatriot with his owo, 

Farewel those honours, and farewel with them 

The hope of such hereafter ! They have fallea 

Each in his field of glory ; one in arms, 

And one in council — Wolfe upon the lap 

OfsmiHng victory that moment won, 

And Chatham heart-sick of his country's shame ! 

They made us many soldiers. Chatham, still 

Consulting England's happiness at home. 

Secured it by an unforgiving frown. 

If any wrong'd her. Wolfe, where'er he fought. 

Put so much of his heart into his act, 

That his example had a magnet's force, 

And all were swift to follow whom all lov'i 



^9o the: task, eoox it* 

Those suns are set. Oh, rise some other such ! 
Or all that we have left is empty talk 
Of old achievements, and despair of new. 

Now hoist the sail, and let the streamers float 
Upon the wanton breezes. Strew the deck 
With lavander, and sprinkle liquid sweets. 
That no rude savour maratime invade 
The nose of nice nobility ! Breathe soft. 
Ye clarionets ; and softer still ye flutes ; 
That winds and waters, lulPd by magic sounds. 
May bear us smoothly to the Gallic shore I 
True, we have lost an empire — let it pass. 
True, we may thank the perfidy of France, 
That pick'd the jewel out of England's crown, 
With all the cunning of an envious shrew. 
And let that pass — 'twas but a trick of state ^ 
A brave man knows no malice, but at once 
Forgets in peace the injuries of war. 
And gives his direst foe a friend's em.brace. 
And sham'd as we have been, to th* very beard 
Brav'd and defied, and in our own sea prov'd 
Too weak for those decisive blows that once 
Ensur'd us mastery there, we yet retain. 
Some small pre-eminence ; we justly boast 
At least superior jockeyship, and claim 
The honoui*s of the turf as all our own I 
Go, then, well worthy of the praise ye seek. 
And show the shame ye might conceal at home 
In foreign eyes ! — be grooms, and win the plate 
Where once your nobler fathers won a crown !-— 



800K II. THE TIME-PIECE. 47 

'Tis generous to conununicate your skill 

To those that need it. Folly is soon learn'd : 

And, under such preceptors, who can fail i 

There is a pleasure in poetie pains 
Which only poets know. The shifts and turns, 
Th' expedients and inventions, multiform, 
To which the mind resorts, in chase of terms 
Though apt, yet coy, and diiScult to win — 
T' arrest the fleeting images that fill 
The mirror of the mind, and hold them fast. 
And force them sit till he has penciPd off 
A faithful likeness of the form he views ; 
Then to dispose his copies with such art. 
That each may find its most propitious hglit. 
And shine by situation, hardly less 
Than by the labour and the skill it cost ; 
Are occupations of the poet's mind 
So pleasing, and that steal away the thought 
With such adiress from themes of sad import, 
That, lost in his own musings, happy man 1 
He feels'th* anxieties of life, denied 
Their wonted entertainment, all retire. 
Such joys has he that sings. But ah ! not sucbf 
Or seldom such, the hearers of his song» 
Fastidious, or else listless, or perhaps 
Aware of nothing arduous in a task 
They never undertook, they little note 
His dangers or escapes., and haply find 
Their least amusement where he found the most. 
JBut is anausement all I studious of song, 



IB THE TASK. 



BOOK 11 



And yet ambitious not to sing in vain, 

I would not trifle merely, though the world 

Be loudest in their praise who do no more. 

Yet wh^t can satire, whether grave or gay i 

It may correct a foible, may chastise 

The freaks of fashion, regulate the dress. 

Retrench a sword-blade, or displace a patch ; 

But where are its subhmer trophies found ? 

What vice has it subdued ? whose heart reclaim'd 

By rigour, or whom laugh'd into reform ? 

Alas ! Leviathan i« not so tam'd : 

LaughM at, he laughs again ; and, stricken hard^ 

Turns to the stroke his adamantine scales. 

That fear no disciphne of human handa. 

The pulpit, therefore (and I name it fill'd 
With solemn awe, that bids me well beware 
With what intent I touch that holy thing)— 
The pulpit (when the satirist has at last. 
Strutting and vapouring in an empty school, 
Spent all his force and made no proselyte) — 
I say the pulpit (in the sober use 
Of its legitimate, peculiar powers) 
Must stand ackxiOwledgM, while the world sliall stand, 
The most importaut and effectual guard. 
Support and ornament of virtue's cause. 
There stands the messenger of truth : there standi - 
The legate of the skies ! — His theme divine. 
His ofEce sacred, his credentials clear. 
By him the violated la-vv speaks out 
Its thunders j and by him, in strains as sweet 



-BOaK H. THE TiME-PIECE. 4?S 

As angels use, the goSpel whispers peace. 

He 'stablishes the strong, restores the weak, 

Reclaims the wanderer, binds the broken heart, 

And, arm'd himself ia panoply complete 

Of heavenly temper, furnishes with arms, 

Bright as his own, and trails, by every rule 

Of holy discipline, to glorious war, 

The sacramental host of God's elect 1 

Are all such teachei'S ? — would to heaven all were I 

But hark — the doctor's voice I —fast wedg'd between 

Two empirics he stands, and v/itli swollen cheeks 

Inspires the news, his trumpet. Keener far 

Than all invective is his bold harangue, 

While through that public organ of report 

He hails the clergy ; and, defying shame. 

Announces to the world his own and theirs ! 

He teaches those to read, whom schools dismissed, 

And colleges, untaught ; sells accent, tone, 

And emphasis in score, and gives to prayer 

Th' adagio and andante it demands. 

He grinds divinity of other days 

Down into modern use ; transforms old print 

To zig-zag manuscript, and cheats the eyes 

Of gallery critics by a thousand arts. 

Are there who purchase of the doctor's ware ? 

Oh, namicit not in Oath ! — it cannot be, 

That grave and learned clerks should need such aid. 

He doubtless is in sport, and does but droll, 

Assuming thus a rank unknown before — - 

Grand caterer and dry-nurse of the church ! 

VOL. II. E 



5<W' THE TASK. BOOK II. 

I venerate the man whose heart is warm, 
AVhose hands are pure, whose doctrine and whose hfe, 
Coincident, exhibit lucid proof 
That he is honest in the sacred cause. 
To such I render more than mere respect, 
Whose actions say that they respect themselves. 
But, loose in morals, and in manners vain, 
In conversation frivolous, in dress 
Extreme, at once rapacious and profuse ; 
Frequent in park with lady at his side, 
Ambling and prattling scandal as he goes ; 
But rare at home, and never at his books, 
Or with his pen, save when he scrawls a card 5 
Constant at routs, familiar with a round 
Of ladyships — a stranger to the poor ; 
Anibitious of preferment for its gold, 
And well prepar'd, by ignorance and sloth, 
By infidelity and love o* the world. 
To make God's work a sinecure ; a slave 
To liis own pleasures and his patren's pride : 
From such apostles, oh, ye mitred heads. 
Preserve the church ! and lay not careless hands 
On sculls that cannot teach and will not learn. 

Would I describe a preacher, such as Paul, 
Were he on earth, would hear, approve and own- 
Paul should himself direct me. I would trace 
His master-strokes, and draw from his design. 
I would express him simple, grave, sincere ; 
In doctrine uncorrupt ; in language plain. 
And plain in manner j decent, solemn, chaste. 



BOOK n. THE TIME-PIECE. 

And natural in gesture ; much impressed 
Himself, as conscious of his awful charge. 
And anxious mainly that the flock he feeds 
May feel it too ; affectionate in look, 
And tender in address, as well becomes 
A messenger of grace to guilty men. 
Behold the picture ! Is it like ? — Like whom ? 
The things that mount the rostrum with a skip, 
And then skip down again ; pronounce a text ; 
Cry — hem ; and, reading what they never wrote 
Just fifteen minutes, huddle up their work, 
And with a well-bred whisper close the scene ? 

In man or woman, but far most in man, 
i And most of all in man that ministers 
j And serves the altar, in my soul I loath 
1 All affectation. 'Tis my perfect scorn ; 
' Object of my implacable disgust. 
What ! — will a man play tricks, will he indulge 
A silly fond conceit of his fair form. 
And just proportion, fashionable mien, 
And pretty face, in presence of his God ? 
Or will he seek to dazzle me with tropes, 
As with the diamond on his lily hand. 
And play his briUiant parts before my eyes. 
When I am hungry' for the bread of life ? 
He mocks his Maker, p;-ostitutes and shames 
His noble office, and, instead of truth. 
Displaying his own beauty, starves his flock ! 
Therefore avaunt all attitude and stare, 
And start theatric practised at the glass I 



#1 



f§^ THE TASK. EQOK U. 

I 

I seek divine simplicity in him 
Who handles things divine ; and all besides, 
Though learii'd with labour, and though much ad- 
mi r'd 
By curious eyes and judgments ill informed, 
To me is odious as the nasal twang 
Heard at conventicle, where worthy men^ 
Misled by custom, strain celestial themes 
Through the prest nostril, spectacle-bestrid. 
Some, decent in demeanour while they preach. 
That task perform'd, relapse into themselves ;. 
And, having spoken wisely, at the close 
Grow^ wanton, and give proof to every eye — 
Whoe'er was edified, themselves were not \ 
Forth comes the pocket mirror. First we stroke 
An eye-brow ; next, compose a straggling lock ;; 
Then w^ith an air, most gracefully periorm'd. 
Fall back into our seat, extend an arm, 
And lay it at its ease with gentle care, 
With handkerchief in hand depending low :■ 
The better hand, more busy, gives the nose 
Its bergamot, or aids tli' indebted eye 
With opera glass, to watch tlie moving scene. 
And recognize the slow-retiring fair. — 
Now this is fulsome ; and offends me more- 
Than in a churchman slovenly neglect 
And rustic coarseness would. A heavenly mind 
May be indifferent to her house of clay, 
And slight the hovel as beneath her care ; 



BOOK II. THE TIME-PIECE. 

But how a body so fantastic, trim 

And quaint in its deportment and attire, 

Can lodge a heavenly mind — demands a doubt. 

He that negotiates between God and man, 
As God's ambassador, the grand concerns 
Of judgment and of mercy, should beware 
Of hghtness in his speech. 'Tis pitiful 
To court a grin, when you should woo a soul ; 
To break a jest when pity would inspire 
Pathetic exortation ; and t' address 
The skittish fancy with facetious tales, 
When sent with God's commission to the heart 1 
So did not Paul. Direct me to a quip 
Or merry turn in all he ever wrote, 
And I consent you take it for your text, 
Your only one, till sides and benches fail. 
No : he was serious in a serious cause, 
And understood too well the weighty terms 
That he had ta'en ia charge. He would not stoop 
To conquer those by jocular exploits. 
Whom truth and soberness assailM in vain. 

Oh, popular applause ! what heart of man 
Is proof against thy sweet seducing charms ? 
The wisest and the best feel urgent need 
Of all their caution in thy gentlest gales ; 
But, swellM into a gust — who, then, alas 1 
With all his canvass set, and inexpert. 
And therefore heedless, can Vv^ithstand thy power r 
Praise from the rivePd hps of toothless, bald 
Decrepitude ; and in the looks of lean 
E 2 



^ 



ffg THE TASK. BOOK iim 

And craviug poverty ; and in the bo\r 
Respectful of the smutch'd artificer ; 
Is oft too welcome, and may much disturb 
The bias of the purpose. How much more, 
Pour'd forth by beauty splendid and pohte, 
in language soft as adoration breathes ? 
Ah, spare your idol 1 think him human stilL 
Charms he may have, but he has frailties too * 
Dote not too much, nor spoil what ye admire. 

All truth is from the sempiternal source 
Of light divine. But Egypt, Greece, and Rome,. 
Drew from the stream below. More favoured, wc 
Drink, when we choose it, at the fountain head. 
To them it f owM much m.ingled and defil'd 
With hurtful error, prejudice, and dreams 
Illusive of philosophy, so call'd, 
Eut falsely. Sages after sages strove 
In vain to filter off a en- stal draught 
Pure from the lees, which often more enhanced 
The thirst than slak'd it, and not seldom bred 
Intoxication and delirium wild. 
In vain they push'd inquiry to the birth 
And spring-time of the world ; ask'd, Whence 15 

man ? 
Why form'd at all ? and wherefore as he is ? 
Where must he find his Maker ? With what rites 
Adore him '? Will he hear, accept, and bless ? 
Or does he sit regardless of his works ? 
Has man within him an immortal seed I 
Or does the tomb take all ? If he survive 



gpOK II.' THE TIME-PIEGE* BB 

His ashes J where ? and in what weal or woe ? 

Knots worthy of solution, which alone 

A Deity could solve. Their answers, vague. 

And all at random, fabulous, and dark. 

Left them as dark themselves. Their rules of life. 

Defective and unsanction'd, prov'd too weak 

To bind the roving appetite, and lead 

Blind nature to a God not yet reveaPd, 

'Tis revelation satisfies all doubts, 

Explains all mysteries, except her own, 

And so illuminates the path of life, 

That fools discover it, and stray no more. 

Now tell n>e, dignified and sapient Sir, 

My man of morals, nurtured in the shades 

Of Academus — is this false or true ? 

Is Christ the able teacher, or the schools ? 

If Christ, then why resort at every turn 

To Athens or to Rome, for wisdom short 

Of man's occasions, when in him reside 

Grace, knowledge, comfort — ^an unfathom'd store I 

How oft, when Paul has serv'd us with a text, 

Has Epictetus, Plato, Tully. preach'd ! 

Men that, if now alive, would sit content 

And humble learners of a Saviour's worth, 

Preach it who might. Such was their love of truth. 

Their thirst of knowledge, and their candour too I 

And thus it is. — The pastor, cither vain 
By nature, or by flattery made so, taught 
To gaze at hii ov/n splendour, and t' exalt 
Absurdly, not his office, but hiniself j 



56 THE TASK, 



BOOK II. 



Or unenlightenM, and too proud to learn ; 

Or vicious, and not therefore apt to teach ; 

Perverting often, by the stress of lewd 

And loose example, whom he should instruct ; 

Exposes, and holds up to broad disgrace, 

The noblest function, and discredits much 

The brightest truths that man has ever seen. 

For ghostly council ; if it either fall 

Below the exigence, or be not back'd 

With show of love, at least with hopeful proof 

Of some sincerity on the giver's part ; 

Or be dishonourM, in th' exterior form 

And mode of its conveyance, by such tricks 

As move derision, or by foppish airs 

Ajid histrionic mummery, that let down 

The pulpit to the level of the stage ; 

Drops from the lips a disregarded thing. 

The weak perhaps are mov'd, but are not taught, 

While prejudice in men of stronger minds 

Takes deeper root, confirmed by what they see. 

A relaxation of religion's hold 

Upon tlie roving and untutor'd heart 

Soon follows, and the curb of conscience snapt, 

The laity run wild. — But do they now ? 

Note their extravagance, and be convinced. 

As nations, ignoi*ant of God, contrive 
A wooden one, so we, no longer taught 
By monitors that mother church supplies. 
Now make our own. Posterity will ask 
{If e'er posterity see verse of mine) 



BOOK II. THE TIME-PIECE. 9f. 

Some fifty or a hundred lustrums hence, 

What was a monitor in George's days ? 

My very gentle reader, yet unborn, 

Of whom I needs must augur better things, 

Since Heaven would sure grow weary of a world 

Productive only of a race like ours, 

A monitor is wood — plank shaven thin. 

We wear it at our backs. There, closely brac'd 

And neatly fitted, it compresses hard 

The prominent and most unsightly bones, 

And binds the shoulders flat. We prove its use 

Sovereign and most effectual to secure 

A form, not now gymnastic as of yore. 

From rickets and distortion, else our lot. 

But, thus admonished, we can walk erect — 

One proof at least of manhood ! while the friend 

Sticks close, a Mentor worthy of his charge. 

Our habits, costlier than Lucellus wore. 

And by caprice as multiphed as his, 

Just please us while the fashion is at full, 

But change with eveiy moon. The sycophant. 

Who waits to dress us, arbitrates their date ; 

Surveys his fair reversion with keen eye ; 

Finds one ill made, another obsolete. 

This fits not nicely, that is ill conceiv'd ; 

And, making prize of all that he condemns. 

With our expenditure defrays tiis own. 

Variety's the very spice of Hfe, 

That gives it all its flavour. We have run 

Through every change, that fancy at the looi% 



58 THE TASK. 



BOOK II 



Exhausted, has had genius to supply : 

And studious of mutation still, discard 

A real elegance, a little us'd, 

For monstrous novelty and strange disguise, 

We sacrifice to dress, till household joys 

And comforts cease. Dress drains our cellar dry, 

And keeps our larder lean ; puts out our fires j 

And introduces hunger, frost and woe. 

Where peace and hospitality might reign. 

What man that lives, and that knows how to live. 

Would fail t' exhibit at the public shows 

A form as splendid as the proudest there, 

Though appetite raise outcries at the cost ? 

A man o' the town dines late, but soon enough. 

With reasonable forecast and dispatch, 

T' ensure a side -box station at half-price. 

You think, perhaps, so delicate his dress, 

His daily fare as delicate. Alas i 

He picks clean teeth, and busy as he seems 

With an old tavern quill, is hungry yet ! 

The rout is folly's circle, which she draws 

With magic wand. So potent is the spell. 

That none, decoyM into that fatal ring, 

Unless by Heaven's peculiar grace, escape. 

There we grow early gray, but never wise ; 

There form connexions, but acquire no friend ; 

Solicit pleasure, hopeless of success ; 

Waste youth in occupations only fit 

For second childhood, and devote old age 

To sports which only childhood could- excuse. 



BOOK 11. THE TIME-PIECE. 59 

There they are happiest who dissemble best 

Their weariness ; and they the most polite 

Who squander time and treasure with a smile, 

Though at their own destruction. She, that asks 

Her dear five hundred friends, contemns them all. 

And hates their coming. They (what can they less ?) 

Make just reprisals ; and, with cringe and shrug, 

And bow obsequious, hide their hate of her. 

All catch the frenzy^ downward from her grace, 

Whose flambeaux flash against the morning skies. 

And gild our chamber ceilings as they pass. 

To her, who, frugal only that her thrift 

May feed excesses she can ill afford. 

Is hackneyed home unlacquey'd ; who in haste 

Alighting turns the key in her own door. 

And, at the watchman's lantern borrowing light, 

Finds a cold bed her only comfort left. 

Wives beggar husbands, husbands starve their wives. 

On fortune's velvet altar offering up 

Their last poor pittance — fortune, most severe 

Of goddesses yet known, and costlier far 

Than all that held their routs in Juno's heaven.-— 

So fare we in this prison-house the world. 

And *tis a fearful spectacle to see 

So many maniacs dancing in their chains. 

They gaze upon the links that hold them fast 

With eyes of anguish, execrate their lot, 

Then shake them in despair, and dance again ! 

Now basket up the family of plagues 
That waste our vitals ) peculation, sak 



^9 THE TASK. 



B<?OK II. 



Of honour, perjury, corruption, frauds 
By forgery, by subterfuge of law, 
By tricks and lies as numerous and as keen 
As the necessities their authois feel ; 
Then cast them, closely bandied, every brat 
At the right door. Profusion is the sire. 
Profusion unrestrained, with all that's base 
In character, has litter 'd all the land, 
And bred, within the memory of no few, 
A priesthood, such as Baal's was of old ^ 
A people, sxich as never was till now. 
It is a hungry vice : — it eats up all 
That gives society its beauty, strength, 
Convenience, and security and use ; 
Makes men mere vermin, worthy to be trapp'd 
And gibbetted as fast as catchpoll claws 
Can seize the slippery prey : unties the knot 
Of union, and converts the sacred band 
That holds mankind together to a scourge. 
Profusion, deluging a state with lusts 
Of grossest nature and of worst effects, 
Prepares it for its ruin : hardens, bhnds, 
And warps the consciences of public men. 
Till they can laugh at virtue ; mock the fools 
That trust them ; and in the end, disclose a face 
That w^ould have shockM credulity herself, 
Unmask'd, vouchsafing this tlieir sole excuse- 
Since all alike are selfish, why not they ? 
This does profusion, and th' accursed cause 
Of such deep mischief has itself a -cause. 



Boo^ n- 



THE TIME-PIECE. 61 



In colleges and halls, in ancient days. 
When learning, virtue, piety, and truth, 
Were precious, and inculcated with care, 
There dwelt a sage calPd Discipline, His head, 
Not yet by time completely silver'd o'er, 
Bespoke him past the bounds of freakish youth, 
But strong for service still, and unimpaired. 
His eye was meek and gentle, and a smile 
Play'd on his lips ; and in his speech was heard 
Paternal sweetness, dignity and love. 
The occupation dearest to his heart 
Was to encourage goodness. He would stroke 
The head of modest and ingenuous worth. 
That blush'd at its own praise ; and press the youtk 
Close to his side that pleased him. Learning grew 
Beneath his care, a thriving vigourous plant ; 
The mind was well informed, the passions held 
Subordinate, and diligence was choice. 
If e'er it chanc'd, as sometimes chance it must, 
That one among so Ti:)any overleap'd 
The limits of controul, his gentle eye 
Grew stern, and darted ^ severe rebuke : 
His frown was full of terror, and his voice 
Shook the delinquent with such fits of awe 
As left him not, till penitence had won 
Lost favour back again, and clos'd the breach. 
But Discipline, a faithful servant long, 
Dechn'd at length into the vale of years : 
A palsy struck his arm ; his sparkling eye • 
Was quench'd in rheu:ns of age ; his voice, unstrun. 

VOL. II, y 



64 THE TASK* 



BOOK II « 



Grew tremulous, and mov'd derision more 
Than reverence in perverse rebellious youth. 
So colleges an^ halls neglected much 
Their good old friend ; and DiscipHne at lengthy 
O'erlook'd and unemployed, fell sick and died. 
Then study languished, emulation slept, 
And virtue fled. The schools became a scene 
Of solemn farce, where Ignorance in stilts. 
His cap well linM with logic not his own, 
With parrot tongue performed the scholar's part, 
Proceeding soon a graduated dunce. 
Tken compromise liad place, and scrutiny 
Became stone-blind ; precedence went in truck, 
And he was competent whose purse was so. 

A dissolution of all bonds ensued j 
The curbs, invented for the mulish mouth 
Of headstrong youth, were broken ; bars and boIt« 
Grew rusty by disuse ; and massy gates 
Forgot their office, opening with a touch; 
Till gowns at length are found mere masquerade^ 
The tassel'd cap, and the spruce band a jest, 
A mockery of the world ! What need of these 
For gamesters, jockeys, brothellers impure, 
Spendthrifts, and booted sportsmen, oftener seen 
With belted waist, and pointers at their heels, 
Than in the bounds of duty ? What was leara'd. 
If aught was learn'd in childhood, is forgot ; 
And such expense as pinches parents blue, 
And miortifies the liberal hand of love, 
Is squandered in pursuit of idle sports 
And vicious pleasures ; buys the boy a name,^ 



i 



iOOK II. 



THE TIMI-PIECE. 6^ 



That sits a stigma on his father's house, 

And cleaves through life inseparably close 

To him that wears it. What can after-games 

Of riper joys, and commerce with the world. 

The lewd vain world that must receive him soon. 

Add to such erudition, thus acquired. 

Where science and where virtue are profcss'd ^ 

They may confirm his habits, rivet fast 

His folly, but to spoil him is a task 

That bids defiance to th' united powers 

Of fashion, dissipation, taverns, stews. 

Now, blame we most the nurslings or the nurse ? 

The children, crook'd, and twisted, and deformed. 

Through want of care ; or her whose winking eye 

And slumbering oscitancy mars the brood ? 

The nurse no doubt. Regardless of her charge, 

She needs herself correction ; needs to learn. 

That it is dangerous sporting with the world, 

With things so sacred as a nation's trust. 

The nurture of her youth, her dearest pledge. 

All are not such. I had a brother once — - 
Peace to the memory of a man of worthy 
A man of letters, and of manners too I 
Of manners sweet as virtue always wears^ 
When gay good-nature dresses her in smiles. 
He grac'd a college,* in which order yet 
Was sacred ; and was honour'd, lov'd, and wept. 
By more than one, themselves conspicuous there. 



Bsn'et Coll, Cambridge. 



64? THE TASK. 



BOOie SK 



Some minds a^'e temper'd happily, and mix'd 
With such ingredients of good sense and taste 
Of what is excellent in man, they thirst 
With such a zeal to be what they approve, 
That no restraints can circumscribe them more 
Than they themselves by choice, for wisdom's sake ; 
Nor can example hurt them : what they see 
Of vice in others but enhancing more 
The charms of virtue in their just esteeno. 
If such escape contagion, and emerge 
Pure from so foul a pool, to shine abroad, 
And give the world their talents and themselves,. 
Small thanks to those whose negligence or slotk 
Exposed their inexperience to the snare,.. 
And left them to an undirected choice. 

See, then, the quiver broken and decay'd 
In which are kept our arrows ! rusting therc> 
In wild disorder, and unfit for use, 
What wonder, if discharg'd into the world. 
They shame their shooters with a random flight. 
Their points obtuse, and feathers drunk with wine I 
Well may the church wage unsuccessful war, 
With such artillery arm'd. Vice parries wide 
Th' undreaded volley with a sword of straw, 
And stands an impudent and fearless mark. 

Have we not track'd the felon home, and found 
His birth-place and his dam ? The country mourns— 
Mourns, because every plague that can infest 
Society, and that saps and worms the base 



BOOK It. THE TIME-riECE. 6S 

Of th' edifice that policy has raisM , 
Swarms in all quarters j meets the eye, the ear^ 
And suffocates the breath at every turn. 
Profusion breeds them j and the cause itself 
Of that calamitous mischief has been found : 
Found, too, where most offensive, in the skirts 
Of the rob'd pedagogue ! Else, let th' arraign'd 
Stand up unconscious, and refute the charge. 
So, when the Jewish leader stretch'd his arm. 
And wav'd his rod divine, a race obscene, 
Spawn'd in the muddy beds of Nile, came forth. 
Polluting Egypt : gardens, fields, and plains, 
Were covered with the pest ; the streets were filled f 
The croaking nuisance lurk'd in every nook ; 
Nor palaces, nor even chambers, 'scap'd ; 
And the land stank — ^so numerous was the fry. 



y 2 



ARGUMENT OF THE THIRD BOOK. 

Self -Recollect ton and reproof. — Address to dotnesiic happU 
ness,^^Some account of myself — The vanity of many 
of their pursuits who are reputed wise ,'^^ Justification 
of my censures. — Divine illumination necessary to tf^ 
most expert philosopher . — T^he question, What is truth ? 
answered by other questions, — Domestic happiness ad* 
dressed again. — Few lovers of the country. — My tame 
hare* — Occupations of a retired gentleman in his gar* 
den. — Pruning. — Framing. — Greenhouse. — Sowing of 
fiower'^eeds.-'^The countty preferable to the town even 
in the winter. — Reasons why it is deserted at that 
season, — Ruinous effects of gaming and of expensive im»- 
provement.-^Booh concludes with an apostrophe to tJie 
metropolis. 



THE TASK, 



BOOK III. 



THE GARDEN. 



A 



,.S one, who, long in thickets and in brakes 
Entangled, winds now this way and now that 
His devious course uncertain, seeking home j 
Or, having long in miry ways been foiPd 
And sore discomfited, from slough to slough 
Plunging, and half despairing of escape ; 
If chance at length he find a greensward smooth 
And faithful to the foot, his spirits rise, 
He chirrups brisk his ear-erecting steed, 
And winds his way with pleasure and with ease ) 
So I, designing other themes, and calPd 
T' adorn the Sofa with eulogium due, 
To tell its slumbers, and to paint its dreams. 
Have rambled wide. In country, city, seat 
Of academic fame (howe'er deserv'd) 
Long held, and scarcely disengag'd at last^ 



60 THE TASK, BOOR III. 

But now, with pleasant pace, a cleanlier road 
I mean to tread. I feel myself at large. 
Courageous, and refresh'd for future toil, 
If toil await me, or if dangers new. 

Since pulpits fail, and sounding boards reflect 
Most part an empty ineffectual sound. 
What chance that I, to fame so little known. 
Nor conversant with men or manners much. 
Should speak to purpose, or with better hope 
Crack the satiric thong ? 'Twere wiser far 
For me, enamour'd of sequestered scenes. 
And charmed with rural beauty, to repose. 
Where chance may throw me, beneath elm or vine, 
My languid limbs, when summer sears the plains ; 
Or, when rough winter rages, on the soft 
And sheltered Sofa, while the nitrous air 
Feeds a blue flame ; and makes a cheerful hearth j 
There, undisturb'd by folly, and appriz'd 
How great the danger of disturbing her, 
To muse in silence, or at least confine 
Remarks that gall so many to the few 
My partners in retreat. Disgust concealed 
Is oft-times proof of wisdom, when the fault 
Is obstinate, and cure beyond our reach. 

Domestic happiness, thou only bliss 
Of Paradise that has surviv'd the fall ] 
Though few now taste thee unimpaired and pure^ 
Or, tasting, long enjoy thee ; too infirm. 
Or too incautious, to preserve thy sweets 
Unraix'd with drops of bitter, which neglect 



BOOK IJI. THE GARDEN. 6S^ 

Or temper sheds into thy crystal cup. 
Thou art the nurse of virtue — In thine arms 
She smiles, appearing, as in truth she is, 
Heaven-born, and destined to the skies again. 
Thou art not known where pleasure is ador'd, 
That reeling goddess v^ith a zoneless waist 
And wandering eyes, still leaning on the arm 
Of novelty, her fickle frail support ; 
For thou art nrieek and constant, hating change. 
And finding, in the calm of truth-tried love, 
Joys that her stormy raptures never yield. 
Forsaking thee, what shipwreck have we msdc 
Of honour, dignity, and fair renown !. 
Till prostitution elbows us aside 
In all our crowded streets ;: and senates seetn 
Convened for purposes of empire less 
Than to release th' adultress from her bond. 
Th' adultress ! what a theme for angry verse I 
What provocation to th' indignant heart 
That feels for injur'd love ! but I disdain 
The nauseous task to paint her as she is. 
Cruel, abandoned, glorying in her shame !. 
No : — let her pass, and, chariotted along 
In guilty splendour, shake the public ways ? 
The frequency of crimes has washed them white ! 
And verse of mine shall never brand the wretch. 
Whom matrons, now, of character unsmirch'd. 
And chaste themselves, are not asham'd to own. 
Virtue and vice had boundaries in old time. 
Not to be pass'd : and she, that had renounc'd 



TO THE TASK, BOOK Ifl. 

Her sex's honour, was renounc'd herself 

By all that priz'd it ; not for prudery's sake^ 

But dignity's, resentful of the wrong. 

^Twas hard, perhaps, on here and there a waif^ 

Desirous to return, and not receiv'd ; 

But was a wholesome rigour in the main, 

And taught th' unblemish'd to preserve with care 

That purity, whose loss was loss of alL 

Men, too, were nice in honour iu those days, 

And judg'd oSFenders well. Then he that diarp'dy 

And pocketed a prize, by fraud obtain'd. 

Was mark'd andshunn'd as odious. He that soli 

His country, or was slack when she required 

His every nerve in action and at stretch. 

Paid, with the blood that he had basely spared. 

The price of his default. But now — yes,, now 

We are become so candid and so fair, 

So liberal in construction, and so rich 

In Christian charity, (good-natur'd age !} 

That they are safe, sinners of either sex, 

Transgress what laws they may. Well dress'd, well 

bred^ 
Well equipag'd, is ticket good enough 
To pass us readily through every door. 
Hypocrisy, detest her as we may, 
(And no man's hatred ever wrong'd her yet) 
May claim this merit still — that she admits 
The woith of what she mimics with such care,. 
And thus gives virtue indirect applause ; 
But she has burnt her mask, not needed here^ 



BOOK in. THE GARDEN. 7i 

Where vice has such allowance, that her shifts 
And specious semblances have lost their use. 

I was a stricken deer, that left the herd 
Long since ; with many an arrow deep infix'd. 
My panting side was charg'd, when I withdrew 
To seek a tranquil death in distant shades. 
There was I found by one who had himself 
Been hurt by th' archers. In his side he bore. 
And in his hands and feet, the cruel scars. 
With gentle force soliciting the darts, 
He drew them forth, and heal'd, and bade me live. 
Since then, with few associates, in remote 
And silent woods I wander far from those 
My former partners of the peopled scene ; 
With few associates, and not wishing more. 
Here much I ruminate, as much I may, 
With other views of men and manners now 
Than once, and others of a life to come. 
I see that all are wanderers, gone astray 
Each in his awn delusions ; they are lost 
In chase of fancied happiness, still woo'd 
And never won. Dream after dream ensues ; 
And still they dream that they shall still succeed. 
And still are disappointed. Rings the v^^orld 
With the vain stir. I sum up half mankind, 
And add two thirds of the remaining half, 
And find the total of their hopes and fears 
Dreams, empty dreams. The millions flit as gay 
As if created only like the fly. 
That spreads his motley wings in th' eye of noon, 



"74 THE TASK. 



BOOK III, 



To sport their season, and be seen no more. 

The rest arc sober dreamers, grave and wise, 

And pregnant with discoveries new and rare. 

Some write a narrative of wars and feats 

Of heroes little known ; and call the rant 

A histoiy : describe the man, of whom 

His own coevals took but little note ; 

And paint his person, character and views, 

As they had known him from his mother's womb. 

They disentangle from the puzzled skein, 

In which obscurity has wrapp'd them up. 

The tiireads of politic and shrewd design. 

That ran through all his purposes, and charge 

His mind with meanings that lie never had, 

Or, having, kept conceal'd. Some drill and bore 

The solid earth, and fiom the strata there 

Extract a register, by which we learn 

That he who made it, and reveal'd its date 

To Moses, was mistaken in its age. 

Some, more acute, and more industrious still. 

Contrive creation ; travel nature up 

To the sharp peak of her sublimest height, 

And tell us whence the stars ; why some are fix'd. 

And planetary some ; what gave them first 

Rotation, from what fountain flow'd their light. 

Great contest follows, and much learned dust 

Involves the combatants ; each claiming truth. 

And truth disclaiming both. And thus they spend 

The little wick of life's poor shallow lamp. 

In playing tricks with nature, giving laws 



fiOOK HI. THE GARDEN. 

To distant worlds, and trifling in their own. 
Is*t not a pity now, that tickling rheums 
Should ever tease the lungs and blear the sight 
Of oracles like these ? Great pity too, 
That, having wielded th' elements, aird built 
A thousand systems, each in his 6wn way, 
They should go out in fume, and be forgot ? 
Ah ! what is life thus spent ? aiid what are they 
But frantic, who thus spend it-? all for smoke- 
Eternity for bubbles, proves at last 
A senseless bargain. When I see such games 
Play'd by the creatures of a power who swears 
That he will judge the earth, and call the fool 
To a sharp reckoning that has liv'din \-ain ; 
And when I wxigh this seeming wisdom well, 
And prove it in th' infallible result 
So hollow and so false— I feel my heart 
Dissolve in pity, and account the learn'd, 
If this be learning, most of all deceived. 
Great crimes alarm the conscience, but it sleeps 
While thoughtful man is plausibly amus'd. 
Defend me, tlierefore, common sense, say I^ 
From reveries so airy, from the toil 
Of dropping buckets into empty wells, 
And growing old in drawing nothing up! 

^Twere well, says one sage erudite profound. 
Terribly arch'd and aquiline his nose. 
And over-built with most impending brows, 
'Twere well, could you permit the world to live 
As the world pleases. What's the world to you ?- 

VOL. II, Q 



H 



THE TASif. BOOK €U* 



Much. I was born of woman, and drew milk, 

As sweet as charity, from human breasts. 

I think, articulate, 1 laugh and weep, 

And exercise all functions of a man. 

How then should I and any man that hvcs 

Be strangers to each other ? Pierce my veiii^ 

Take of the crimson stream meandering there. 

And catechise it well ; apply thy glass. 

Search it, and prove now if it be not blood 

Congenial with thine own : and, if it be. 

What edge of subtlety canst thou suppose 

Keen enough, wise and skilful as thou art. 

To cut the link of brotherhood, by which 

One common Maker bound me to the kind ? 

True ; I am no proficient, I confess. 

In arts like yours. I cannot call the swift 

And perilous lightnings fix)m the angry clouds. 

And bid them hide themselves in earth beneath; 

I cannot analyze the air, nor catch 

The parallax of yonder luminous point. 

That seems half quench'd in th' immense abyss ; 

Such powers I boast not — neither can I rest 

A silent witness of the headlong rage 

O r heedless folly by which thousands die. 

Bone of my bone, and kindred souls to mine^ 

God never meant that man should scale the heavcm 
By strides of human wisdom. In his works. 
Though wondrous, he commands us in his word 
To seek him rather, where his mercy shines^ 
The mind, indeed, enlightened from above. 



BOOK IIU THE GARDEN., <a 

Views him in all ; ascribes to the grand cause 

The grand effect ; acknowledges with joy 

His manner, and with rapture tastes his style. 

But never yet did philosophic tube, 

That brings the planets home into the e)e 

Of observation^ and discovers, else 

Not visible, his family of worlds^ 

Discover him that rules them ; such 3 veil 

Hangs aver mortal eyes, blind from the birth^ 

And dark in things divine. Full often, too. 

Our v>"ayward intellect, the more we leara 

Of nature, overlooks her Author more ; 

From instrumental causes proud to draw 

Conclusions retrograde, and mad mistake. 

But if his word once teach us, shoot a ray 

Through all the heart's dark chambers, and reveal 

Truths undiscern'd but by that holy light, 

Then all is plain. Philosophy, baptiz'd 

In the pure fountain of eternal love. 

Has eyes, indeed ; and viewing all she see* 

As meant ta indicate a God to man, ^^-'T 

Gives HIM his praise, and forfeits not her own, ' t3- 

Learning has borne such fruit in other days • 

On all her branches : piety has found "-■' *^w^ 

Friends in the friends of science, and true pray^' 

Has flow'd from lips wet with Castalian dews. 

Such was thy wisdom, Newton, childlike sage ! 

Sagacious reader of the works of God, 

And in his word sagacious. Such too thine, 

Miltoi>, whose genius had angelie wings, 



n^ 



>^ T-ME TASK. BaOK tit. 

And fed on manna 1 And sncli thine, in whom 
Our British Themis gloried with just cause, 
Immortal Hale ! for deep discernment prais'd,^^ 
And sound integrity, not more than fam'd 
For sanctity of manners undefiPd* 

All flesh is grass, and all its glory fade* 
Like the fair flower dishevelPd in the wind ; 
Riches have wings^ and grandeur is a dream : 
The man we celebrate must find a tomb^ 
And we that worship him ignoble graves, 
.Notliing is proof against the general curse 
Of vanity, that seizes all below. 
The only amaranthine flower on earth. 
Is virtue ; th' only lasting treasure, truth.. 
But what is truth ? 'twas Pilate's question, put 
To trath itself, that deign'd liim no reply, 
And wherefore i will not God impart his lights 
To them that ask it ? — Freely— 'tis his joy^ 
His glory, and his nature, to impart. 
But- to the proud, uncandid, insincere> 
^r negligent inquirer, not a spark. 
What's that which brings contempt upon a booSr, 
A«d biJ^ who write« it ; though the style be neat. 
The method clear, and argument exact ? 
Thcit makes a minister in holy things 
The joy of many, and the dread of more. 
His name a theme for praise and for reproach ? 
That while it gives us worth in God's account^ 
Depreciates and undoes us in our own ? 
What pearl i? it that rich men cannot ba j^ 



BOOK in. 



THE garden; 77 



That learning is too proud to gather up ; 
But which the poor, and the despis'd of all. 
Seek and obtain, and often find unsought ? 
Tell me — and I will tell thee what is truth. 

O, friendly to the best pursuits of man, 
Friendly to thought, to virtue, and to peace^ 
Domestic life in rural leisure pass'd I 
Few know thy value, and few taste thy sweets 5 
Though many boast thy favours, and affect 
To understand and choose thee for their own. 
jBut foolish man foregoes his proper bliss, 
Even as his first progenitor, and quits. 
Though plac'd in paradise, (for earth has still 
Some traces of her youthful beauty left) 
Substantial happiness for transient joy^ 
Scenes form'd for contemplation, and to nurse 
The growing seeds of wisdom ; that suggest, 
By every pleasing image they present, 
Reflections such as meliorate the heart, 
Compose the passions, and exalt the mind ; 
Scenes such as these 'tis his supreme delight 
To fiU'with riot, and defile with blood. 
Should some contagion, kind to tfie poor brutes 
We persecute, annihilate the tribes 
That draw the sportsman over hill and daH 
Fearless, and rapt away from all his cares j 
Should never game-fowl hatch her eggs again. 
Nor baited hook deceive the fish's eye ; 
Could pageantry and dance, and feast and song,. 
Be quelPd in all our summer-montlis' retreat $ 
c 2 



76 THE TASK* BOOK'lIU 

H ow many self-deluded nymphs and swains, 

Who dream they have a taste for fields and groves> 

Would find them hideous nurseries of the spleen, 

And crowd the roads, impatient for the town I 

They love the country, and none else, who seek 

For their own sake its silence and its shade. 

Delights, which who would leave, that has a heart 

Susceptible of pity, or a mind 

Cultur'd and capable of sober thought, 

For all the savage din of the swift pack, 

And clamours of tl^ field I Detested sport. 

That owes its pleasures to another's pain | 

That feeds upon the sobs and dying shrieks 

Of harmless nature, dumb, but yet endu'd 

With eloquence, that agonies inspire. 

Of silent tears and heart -distending sighs ? 

Vain tears, alas, and sighs, that never find 

A corresponding tone in jovial souls ! 

Well — one at least is saf % One sheltci'M hare 

Has never heard the sanguinary yeU 

Of cruel man, exulting in. her woes.. 

Innocent partner of my peaceful home, 

Whom ten long years* experience of my Cart 

Has made at last familiar ; she has lost 

Much of her vigilant instinctive dread,. 

Not needful here, beneath a roof like mine. 

Yes — thou may'st eat thy bread, and lick the hand 

That feeds thee ; thou may'st frolic on the floor 

At evening, and at night retire secure 

To thy straw couch, and slumber unalarm'di 



BOOK III. THE GARDEN. ' 70' 

For I have gain'd thy confidence, havepledg'd 
All that is human in me to protect 
Thine unsuspecting gratitude and love. 
If I survive thee 1 will dig thy grave : 
And, when I place thee in it, sighing, say, 
I knew at least one hare that had a friend. 

How various his employments, whom the world 
Calls idle ; and who justly, in return, 
Esteems that busy world an idler too ? 
Friends, books, a garden, and perhaps his pen. 
Delightful industry enjoyM at home. 
And nature in her cultivated trim 
DressM to his taste, inviting him abroad— 
Can he want occupation who has these ? 
Will he be idle who has much t' enjoy i 
Me, therefore, studious of laborious ease, 
Not slothful ; happy to deceive the time, 
Not waste it ; and aware that human life 
Is but a loan to be repfdd with use. 
When H E shall call his debtors to account 
From whom are all our blessings ; business finds 
Even here : while sedulous I seek t* improve, 
At least neglect not^ or leave unemployed. 
The mind he gave me ; driving it, though slack 
Too oft, and much impeded in its work 
By causes not to be divulg'd in vain. 
To its just point — the service of mankind. 
He that attends to his interior self, 
That has a heart, and keeps it ; has a mind 
That hungeis, and supplies it y, and who seeks- 



88f THE TASlt. BOOK III* 

A social, not a dissipated life, 
Has business ; feels himself engagM t^ achieve 
No unimportant, though a silent, task* 
A life all turbulence and noise, may seem. 
To him that leads It, wise, and to be praisM ; 
But wisdom is a pearl with most success 
^ Sought in still water, and beneath clear skies. 
He that is ever occupied in storms, 
Or dives not for it, or brings up instead, 
Vainly industrious, a disgraceful prize. 

The morning finds the self-sequester'd man 
Fresh for his task, intend what task he may. 
Whether inclement seasons recommend 
His warm but simple home, where he enjoys. 
With her who shares his pleasures and his heart. 
Sweet converse, sipping calm the fragrant lymph 
Which neatly she prepares ; then to his book. 
Well chosen, and not sullenly perus'd 
In selfish silence, but imparted oft 
As aught occurs that she may smile to hear, 
Or turn to nourishment, digested well. 

Or, if the garden with its many cares. 
An well repaid, demand him, he attends 

The welcome call, conscious how much the hand 

Of lubbard labour needs his watchful eye, 

Oft loitering lazily, if not o'erseen, 

Or misapplying his unskilful strength. 

Nor does he govern only or direct. 

But much performs himself. No works indeed 

That ask robust tough sinews, bred to toil, 



8O0K in. THE GARDEN. 81 

Servile employ ; but such as may amuse. 
Not tire, demanding rather skill than force. 
Proud of his well-spread walls, he views his trees 
That meet (no barren interval between) 
With pleasure more than even their fruits afford. 
Which, save himself who trains them, none can feel :: 
These, therefore, are his own peculiar charge ; 
No meaner hand may discipHne the shoots, 
None but hia steel approach them. What is weak,i, 
Distempered, or has lost prohfic powers, 
Impair'd by age, his unrelenting hand 
Dooms to the knife : nor does he spare the soft 
And succulent, that feeds its giant growth. 
But barren, at th* expense of neighbouring twigs 
Less ostentatious, and yet studded thick 
With hopeful gems. The rest, no portion left 
That may disgrace his art, or disappoint 
Large expectation, he disposes neat 
At measured distances, that air and sun. 
Admitted freely, may afford their aid, 
And ventilate and warm the swelling buds. 
Hence summer has her riches, autumn hence, 
And hence even winter fills his withered hand 
With blushing fruits, and plenty not his own.* 
Fair recompence of labour well bestow'd. 
And wise precaution ; which a clime so rude 
Makes needful still, whose spring is but the child 
Of churlish winter, in her froward moods 



* Miraturque nqvos fructus «t non sui poraa. ViRt;^. 



9|[ THE TASK, BOOK IIU 

Discovering much the temper of her sire. 
For oft, as if in her the stream of mild 
Maternal nature had reversed its course, 
She brings her infants forth with many smiles ; 
But, once deliver*d, kills them with a frown. 
He therefore, timely warn'd» himself supplies 
Her want of care, screening and keeping warm 
The plenteous bloom, that no rough blast may sweep 
His garlands from the boughs. Again, as oft 
As the sun peeps and vernal airs breathe mild, 
The fence withdrawn, he gives them every beam> 
And spreads his hopes before the blaze of day. 

To raise the prickly and green-coated goiird> 
So grateful to the palate, and when rare 
So coveted, else base and disesteem'd^ 
Food for the vulgar merely — is an. art 
That toiling ages have but just maturd,. 
And at this moment unassay'd in song* 
Yet gnats have had, and frogs and mice, long since>. 
Their eulogy ; those sang the Mantuan bard> 
And these the Grecian, in emiobhng strains, 
And in thy numbers, Philhps, shines for aye 
The solitary shilling. Pardon then, 
Ye sage dispensers of poetic fame, 
Th' ambition of one, meaner far, whose pov/ers, 
Presuming an attempt not less sublime, 
Pant for the praise of dressing to the taste 
Of critic appetite, no sordid fare, 
A eucumber, while costly yet and scarce. 



SOOK Xll« THE GAaO£K« BS 

The stable yields a stercoraceous heap. 
Impregnated with quick fermenting salts. 
And potent to resist the freezing blast : 
For, ere the beech and elm have cast their leaf 
Deciduous, when now November dark 
Checks vegetation in the torpid plant 
Expos'd to his cold breath, the task begins. 
Warily, therefore, and with prudent heed. 
He seeks a favoured spot ; that where he builds 
Th' agglomerated pile his frame may front 
The sun's meridian disk, and at the back 
Enjoy close shelter, wall, or reeds, or hedge 
Impervious to the wind. First he tids spread 
Dry fern or Htter'd hay, that may imbibe 
Th' ascending damps ; then leisurely impose. 
And lightly, shaking it with agile hand 
From the full fork, the saturated straw. 
What longest binds the closest forms secure 
The shapely side, that, as it rises, takes. 
By just degrees, an overhanging breadth, 
Sheltering the base with its projected eaves 4 
Th' uphfted frame, compact, at every joint. 
And overlaid with clear translucent glass, 
He settles next upon the sloping mount. 
Whose sharp declivity shoots off secure 
From the dash'd pane the deluge as it falls- 
He shuts it close, and the first labour ends- 
Thrice must the voluble and restless earth 
Spin round upon her axle, ere the warmth. 
Slow gathering in the midst, through the square 
mass 



S4y THE TASK, ^OOK III, 

DifFus'd, attain the surface : when, behold 1 
A pestilent and most corrosive steam, 
X.ike a gross fog Boeotian, rising fast. 
And fast condensed upon the dewy sash. 
Asks egress ; which obtain'd, the overcharge 
And drench'd conservatory breathes abroad, 
In volumes wheeling slow, the vapour dank ; 
And, purified, rejoices to have lost 
Its foul inhabitant. But t' assuage 
Th' impatient fervour which it first conceives 
Within its reeking bosom, threatening death 
TTo his young hopes, requires discreet delay. 
Experience, slow preceptress, teaching oft 
The way to glory by mi&carriage foul. 
Must prompt him, and admonish how to catch 
Th* auspicious moment, when the tempered heat^ 
Friendly to vital motion, may afford 
Soh fomentation, and invite the seed. 
The seed, selected wisely, plump and smooth, 
And glossy, he commits to pots of size 
Diminfltive, well filPd with well prepared 
And fruitful soil, that has been treasur'd long. 
And drank no m.oisture from the dripping clouds ; 
These on the warm and genial earth, that hides 
The smoaking manure and overspreads it all, 
He places liglitly^ and, as time subdues 
The rage of fermentation, plunges deep 
In the soft medium, till they stand immers'd. 
Then rise the tender germs, upstarting quick. 
And spreading wide their spongy lobes j at fir&t 



BOOK III. TftE GARDEK. ^^ 

Pale, wan, and livid ; but assuming soon, 

If fanned by balmy and nutritious air, 

Strain'd through the friendly mats, a vivid green. 

Two leaves produc'd, two rough indented leaves, 

Cautious he pinches from the second stalk 

A pimple, that portends a future sprout, 

And interdicts its growth. Thence straight succeed 

The branches, sturdy to his utmost wish ; 

Prolific all, and harbingers of more. 

The crowded roots demand enlargement now, 

And transplantation in an ampler space. 

Indulged in what they wish, they soon supply 

Large foliage, overshadowing golden flowers. 

Blown on the summit of th' apparent fruit. 

These have their sexes ; and, when summer shines, 

The bee transports the fertiHzing meal 

Trom flower to flower, and even the breathing akr 

Wafts the rich prize to its appointed use. 

Not so when winter scowls. Assistant art 

Then acts in nature's office, brings to pass 

The glad espousals, and ensures the crop. 

Grudge not, ye rich, (since luxury must have 
His dainties, and the world's more numerous half 
Lives by contriving delicates for you) 
Grudge not the cost. Ye Httle know the cares, 
The vigilance, the labour, and the skill. 
That day and night are exercis'd, and hang 
Upon the ticklish balance of suspense. 
That ye may garnish your profuse regales 
With summer fruits brought forth by wintry suns. 

VOL. II. H 



sd 



THE TASK, BOOK III, 



Ten thousand dangers lie in wait to thwart 

The process. Heat, and cold, and wind, and steam, 

Moisture and drought, mice, woniis, and swarminn- 

flies. 
Minute as dust, and numberless, oft work 
Dire disappointment, that admits no cure, 
And which no care can obviate. It were long, 
Too long to tell th' expedients and the shifts 
Which he that fights a season so severe 
Devises, while he guards his tender trust ; 
And oft, at last, in vain. The learn'd and wise 
Sarcastic would exclaim, and judge the song 
Cold as its theme, and like its theme, the fruit 
Of too much labour, worthless when produced. 

Who loves a garden loves a greenhouse too- 
Unconscious of a less propitious clime, 
There blooms exotic beauty , warm and snug. 
While the winds whistle, and the snows descend. 
The spiry myrtle with unwithering leaf 
Shines there and flourishes. The golden boast 
Of Portugal and western India there, 
The ruddier orange, and the paler lime, 
Peep through their polish'd foliage at the storm. 
And seem to smile at what they need not fear. 
Th* amomum there with intermingling flowers 
And cherries hangs her twigs. Geranium boast5 
Her crimson honours, and the spangled beau, 
Ficoides, glitters bright the winter long. 
All plants, of every leaf, that can endure 
The winter's frown, if screen'd from his shrewd bite, 



BOOK III. THE GARDEN, Wf 

Live there, and prosper. Those Ausonia claim?, 
Levantine regions these ; th' Azores send 
Their jessamine, her jessamine remote 
Cafrraria ; foreigners from many lands, 
They form one social shade, as if convened 
By magic summons of th' Orphean l^ire. 
Yet just arrangement, rarely brought to pass 
But by a master's hand, disposing well 
The gay diversities of leaf and flower. 
Must lend its aid t' illustrate all their charms. 
And dress the regular yet various scene. 
Plant behind plant aspiring, in the van 
The dwarfish, in the rear retir *d, but still 
Subhme above the rest, the stateHer stand. 
So once were rang'd the sons of ancient Rome, 
A noble show ! while Roscius trod the stage ; 
And so, while Garrick, as renown 'd as he. 
The sons of Albion ; fearing each to lose 
Some note of nature's m.usic from his lips. 
And covetous of Shakespeare's beauty, seen 
In every flash of his far-beaming eye. 
Nor taste alone and well-contriv'd display 
Suffice to give the marshall'd ranks the grace 
Of their complete effect. Much yet remains 
Unsung, and many cares are yet behind. 
And more laborious ; cares on which depend 
Their vigour, injur'd soon, not soon restored. 
The soil must be renew'd, which, often wash'd, 
Loses its treasure of salubrious salts, 
And disappoints the roots ; the slender roots 



Stt THE TASK, 



BOOK III. 



Close interwoven, where they meet the vase, 
Must smooth be shorn away ; the sapless brancW 
Must fly before the knife ; the wither'd leaf 
Must be detachM, and where it strews the floor 
Swept with a woman's neatness, breeding else 
Contagion, and disseminating death. 
Discharge but these kind offices, (and who 
Would spare, that loves them, offices hke these ?) 
Well they reward the toil. The sight is pleas'd, 
^he scent regal'd, each odoriferous leaf, 
Each opening blossom, freely breathes abroad 
Its gratitude,and thanks him with its sweets. 

So manifold, all pleasing in their kind> 
All healthful, are th' employs of rural life, 
Reiterated as the wheel of time 
Runs round ; still ending, and beginning stilL 
Nor are these all. To deck the shapely knoll. 
That, softly swelled and gaily dress'd, appear*- 
A flowery island, from the dark green lawa 
Emerging, maist be deem'd a labour due 
To no mean hand, and asks the touch of taste. 
Here also grateful mixture of well-match'd 
And sorted hues (each giving each relief. 
And by contrasted beauty shining more) 
Is needful. Strength may wield the ponderous spade^ 
May turn the clod, and wheel the compost home ^ 
But elegance, chief grace the garden shows, 
And most attractive is the fair result 
Of thought, the creature of a pohsh'd mind. 
Without it all is Gothic as the scene 



BOOK IIK THE GARDEN. 8§ 

To which th' insipid citizen resorts 

Near yonder heath ; where industry mis-spent, 

But proud of his uncouth, ill. chosen task, 

Has made a^heaven on earth ; with suns and rnoons 

Of close-ramm'd stones has charged the encumber'd 

soil, 
And fairly laid the zodiac in the dust. 
He, therefore, who would see his flowers dispos'd 
Sightly, and in just order, ere he gives 
The beds the trusted treasure of their seeds, 
Forecasts the future whole ; that, when the scene 
Shall break into its preconceived display. 
Each for itself, and all as with one voice 
Conspiring, may attest his bright design. 
Nor even then, dismissing as performed 
His pleasant work, may he suppose it done. 
Few self-supported flowers endure the wind 
Uninjur'd, but expect th' upholding aid 
Of the 'smooth»shaven prop, and, neatly tied, 
Are wedded thus, like beauty to old age, 
For interest sake, the living to the dead. 
Some clothe the soil that feeds them, far diiTus'd 
And lowly creeping, modest and yet fair, 
Like virtue, thriving most where little seen : 
Some, more aspiring, catch the neighbouring shrub 
With clasping tendrils, and invest his branch. 
Else unadorn'd with maiiy a gay festoon 
And fragrant chaplet, recompensing well 
The strength they boiTOw with the grace they lend. 
All hate the rank society of weeds, 

H 2 



96 THE TASK. 



lOOK nr» 



Noisome, -and ever greedy to exhaust 
Th' impoverish'd earth ; an overbearing race^ 
That, like the multitude made faction mad, 
Disturb good order, and degrade true worth. 

Oh, blest seclusion from a jarring world. 
Which he, thus occupied, enjoys 1 Retreat 
Cannot indeed to guilty man restore 
Lost innocence, or cancel follies past ; 
But it has peace, and much secures the mind 
From all assaults of evil ; proving still 
A faithful barrier, not o'erleap'd with ease 
By vicious custom, raging uncontroll'd 
Abroad, and desolating public hfe. 

When fierce temptation, seconded within ^J 

By traitor appetite, and arm'd with darts ^ 

Temper'd in hell, invades the throbbing breast. 
To combat may be glorious, and success 
Perhaps naay crown us ; but to fly is safe. 
Had I the choice of sublunaiy good, 
What could I wish that I possess not here ? 
Health, leisure, means t' improve it, friendship, pea«c^ 
No loose or wanton, though a wandering, muse, 
And constant occupation without care. 
Thus blest, I draw a picture of that bliss ; 
Hopeless indeed, that dissipated minds, 
And profligate abusers of a world 
Created fair so much in vain for them. 
Should seek the guiltless joys that I describe, 
AUur'd by my report : but sure no less, 
Tliat self condemn'd they must neglect the prize:^ 



BOOK III^ TH£ GARDEN. 9t 

And what they will not taste must yet approve. 

What we admire we praise ; and, when we praise^ 

Advance it into notice, that, its worth 

Acknowledg'd, others may admire it too. 

I therefore recommend, though at the risk 

Of popular disgust, yet boldly still, 

The cause of piety and sacred truth, 

And virtue, and those scenes which God ordained 

Should best secure them and promote them most 5- 

Scenes that I love, and with regret perceive 

Forsaken, or through folly not enjoy'd. 

Pure is the nymph, though liberal of her smiles. 

And chaste, though unconfin'd, whom I extol. 

Not as the prince in Shushan, when he call'd, 

Vain-glorious of her charms, his Vashti forth 

To grace the full pavilion. His design 

Was but to boast his own peculiar good, 

W hich all might view with envy, none partake* 

My charmer is not mine alone ; my sweets, 

And she that sweetens all my bitters too, 

Nature, enchanting nature, in whose form • 

And lineaments divine, I trace a hand 

That errs not, and find rapture still renew*dy 

Is free to all men — universal prize. 

Strange that so fair a creature should yet want 

Admirers, and be destin'd to divide 

With meaner objects even the few she finds ! 

Stripped of her ornaments, her leaves and flowers^ 

She loses all her influence. Cities then 

Attract usj and neglected nature pines^ 



.f8 THE TASK. BOOK IM. 

Abandon'd as unworthy of our love. 

But are not wholesome airs, though unperfum'd 

By roses, and clear suns, though scarcely felt ; 

And groves, if unharmonious, yet secure 

From clamour, and whose very silence charms ; 

To be prefer'd to smoke, to the eclipse 

That metropolitan volcanoes make, 

Wliose Stygian throats breathe darkness all day long ; 

And to the stir of commerce, driving slow, 

And thundering loud with his ten thousand wheels ? 

They would be, were not madness in the head. 

And folly in the heart ; were England now 

What England was, plain, hospitable, kind, 

And undebauch'd. But we have bid farewel 

To all the; virtues of those better days. 

And all their honest pleasures. Mansions once 

Knew their own masters ; and laborious hinds, 

Who had surviv'd the father, serv'd the son. 

Now the legitimate and rightful lord 

Ts but a transient guest, newly arrived. 

And soon to be supplanted. He that saw 

His patrimonial timber cast its leaf. 

Sells the last scantling, and transfers the price 

To some shrewd sharper, ere it buds again. 

Estates are landscapes, gaz'd upon a while. 

Then advertized, and auctioneered away. 

The country starves, and they that feed th' o'ercharg'd 

And surfeited lewd town with her fair dues, 

By a just judgment strip and starve themselves. 

The wings that waft our riches out of sight 



BOOR HI. THE GARDEN. 9# 

Grow on the gamester's elbows ; and th' alert 

And nimble motion of those restless joints, 

That never tire, soan fans them all away. 

Improvement, too, the idol of the age, 

Is fed with many a victim. Lo, he comes ! 

Th' omnipotent magician. Brown, appears ! 

Down falls the venerable pile, th' abode 

Of our forefathers — a grave whisker 'd race, 

But tasteless. Springs a palace in its stead, 

But in a distant spot ; where, more expos'd. 

It may enjoy th* advantage of the north, 

And aguish east, till time shall have transformed 

Those naked acres to a sheltering grove. 

He speaks ; the lake in front becomes a lawn f 

Woods vanish, hills subside, and vallies rise ; 

And streams, as if created far his use. 

Pursue the track of his directing wand j 

Sinuous or straight, now rapid, and now sloWy 

Now murmuring soft, now roaring in cascades—' 

Even as he bids ! Th' enraptured owner smiles. 

'Tis finished, and yet, finished as it seems, ^ 

Still wants a grace, the loveliest it could show, 

A mine to satisfy th' enormous cost. 

Drain'd to the last poor item of his wealth. 

He sighs, departs, and leaves th' accomplish'd plan 

That he has touch'd, retouch'd, many a long day 

Labour'd, and many a night pursuM in dreams. 

Just when it meets his hopes, and proves the heavea 

He wanted, for a wealthier to enjoy ! 

And now perhaps the glorious hour is come, 



©# THE TASK. 



BOOK fH. 



When, having no stake left, no pledge t' endear 

Her interests, or that gives her sacred cause 

A moment's operation on his love. 

He burns v^ith most intense and fragant zeal 

To serve his country. Ministerial grace 

Deals him out money from the public chest ; 

Or, if that mine be shut, some private purse 

Supplies his need with an usurious loan. 

To be refunded duly, v^hen his vote, 

Well-manag'd, shall have earn'd its vrorthy price. 

Oh innocent, eompar'd with arts like these. 

Crape, and cock'd pistol, and the whistling ball 

Sent through the traveller's temples ! He that finds 

One drop of Heaven's sweet mercy in his cup, 

Can dig, beg, rot, and perish, well content, 

So he may wrap himself in honest rags, 

At his last gasp ; but could not for a world 

Fish up his dirty and dependent bread 

From pools and ditches of the commonwealth, 

Sordid and sickening at his own success. 

Ambition, avarice, penury incurr'd 
By endless riot, vanity, the lust 
Of pleasure and variety, dispatch. 
As duly as the swallows disappear, 
The world of wandering knights and squires to town, 
London ingulfs them all ! The shark is there, 
And the shark's prey ; the spendthrift and the leech 
That sucks him. There tlie sycophant, and he, 
Who, with bare-headed and obsequious bows, 
Begs a warm office, doom'd to a cold jail 



BOOK III. THE GARDEN. 96 

And groat per diem, if his patron frown. 
The levee swarms, as if, in golden pomp, 
Were character*d on every statesman's door, 
^* Battered and bankrupt fortunes mended hereJ^* 
These are the charms that sully and eclipse 
The charms of nature. *Tis the cruel gripe 
That lean hard-handed poverty inflicts, 
The hope of better things, the chance to win, 
The wish to shine, the thirst to be amus'd. 
That at the sound of winter's hoary wing 
Unpeople all our counties of such herds 
Of fluttering, loitering, cringing, begging, loose, 
And wanton vagrants, as make London, vast 
And boundless as it is, a crowded coop. 

Oh thou, resort and mart of all the earth, 
Chequer'd with all complexions of mankind, 
And spotted with all crimes ; in whom I see 
Much that I love, and more that I admire. 
And all that I abhor ; thou freckled fair, 
That pleasest and yet shock'st me, I can laugh^ 
And I can weep, can hope, and can despond. 
Feel wrath and pity when I think on thee ! 
Ten righteous would have sav'd a city once. 
And thou hast many righteous. — Well for thee— 
That salt preserves thee ! more corrupted else. 
And therefore more obnoxious, at this hour. 
Than Sodom in her day had power to be. 
For whom God heard his Abraham plead in vaifl. 



ARGUMENT OF THE FOURTH BOOK. 

The post comes in. — The news-paper is reaJ.'-^The world 
conte7nplated at a distance* — Address to winter. '^^The 
rural amusements of a winter evening compared with 
the fashionable ones* — Address to evening. — A brown 
study *'-^F all of snow in the evening, — Thewaggoner,—^ 
A poor family piece, — The rural thief — Public houseu 
^—The multitude of them censured,-'^he farmer* s daugh* 
ier : what she was — what she is. — The simplicity of 
country manners almost lost, — Causes of the change.—^ 
Desertion of the country by the rich, — Neglect of mag" 
istrates. — The militia principally in fault,-— The new re» 
cruit and his transformation, — Reflexion on bodies cor* 
porate, — The love of rural objects natural to all^ and 
never to be totally extinguished^ 



I 



THE TASK, 



BOOK JV. 



THE WINTER EVENING. 

JOLARK ! *tis the twanging "horn o'er yonder bridge, 

That with its wearisome but needful length 

Bestrides the wintry flood, in which the moon 

Sees her unwrinkled face reflected bright ; 

He comes, the herald of a noisy world, 

With spatter'd boots, strapped waist, and frozen locks ;, 

News from all nations lumbering at his back. 

True to his charge, the close pack'd load behind, 

Yet careless what he brings, his one concern 

Is to conduct it to the destin'd inn ; 

And, having dropp'd the expected bag, pass on. 

He whistles as he goes, light-hearted wretch, 

Cold and yet cheerful : messenger of grief 

Perhaps to thousan-ds, and of joy to some ; 

To him indifferent whether grief or joy. 

Houses in ashes, and the fall of stocks, 

VOL- n. I 



99 TUZ TASK. ROOK IV^ 

Births, deaths, and marriages, epistles wet 

With tears, that trickled down the writer's cheeks 

Fast as the periods from his fluent qm'II, 

Or charg'd with amorous sighs of absent swains. 

Or nymphs responsive, equally affect 

His horse and him, unconscious of them all. 

But oh th' important budget ! usher'd in 

With such heart*shaking music, who can say 

What are its tidings ? have our troops awak'd ? 

Or do they still, as if with opium drugged. 

Snore to the murmurs of th' Atlantic wave ? 

Is India free ? and does she w^ar her plum'd 

And jewellM turban with a smile of peace ? 

Or do we grind her still ? The grand debate. 

The popular harangue, the tart reply, 

The logic, and the wisdom, and the wit. 

And the loud laugh — I long to know them all •; 

I burn to set th' imprisoned wranglers free, 

And give them voice and utterance once again. 

Now stir the fii*e, and close the shutters fast. 
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round. 
And, while the bubbling and loud-hissing ura 
Throw^s up a steamy column, and the cups. 
That cheer but not inebriate, w^ait on each. 
So let us welcome peaceful evening in. 
Not such his evening, who with shining face 
Sweats in the crowded theatre, and, squeezed 
And bor'd with elbow-points through both his sides. 
Out-scolds the ranting actor on the stage : 
Nor his, who patient stands till his feet throb^ 



BOOK IV. THE WINTER EVENING. 99 

And his head thumps, to feed upon the breath 

Of patriots, bursting with heroic rage, 

Or placemen, all tranquillity and smiles. 

This folio of four pages, happy work ! 

Which not even critics criticise ; that holds 

Inquisitive attention, while I read, 

Fast bound in chains of silence, which the fair, 

Though eloquent themselves, yet fear to break j 

What is it, but a map of busy life. 

Its fluctuations, and its vast concerns ? 

Here runs the mountainous and craggy ridge 

That tempts ambition. On the summit see 

The seals of office glitter in his eyes ; 

He climbs, he pants, he grasps them ! At his heels. 

Close at his heels, a demagogue ascends. 

And with a dexterous jerk soon twists him down. 

And wins them but to lose them in his turn. 

Here rills of oily eloquence in soft 

Meanders lubricate the course they take ; 

The modest speaker is asham'd and griev'd 

T* engross a moment's notice, and yet begs, 

Begs a propitious ear for his poor thoughts, 

However trivial all that he conceives. 

Sweet bashfulness ! it claims at least this praise ; 

The dearth of information and good sense, 

That it foretels us, always comes to pass. 

Cataracts of declamation thunder here ; 

There forests of no meaning spread the page. 

In which all comprehension wanders, lost ; 

While fields of pleasantry amuse us there 



100 THE TASK. BOOK IT. 

With merry descants on a nation's woes. 

The rest appears a wilderness of strange 

But gay confusion ; roses for the cheeks. 

And lilies for the brows of faded age, 

Teeth for the toothless, ringlets for the bald, 

Heaven, earth, and ocean, plundered of their sweets,. 

Nectarious essences, Olympian dews, 

Sermons, and city feasts, and favourite airs, 

Ethereal journies, submarine exploits, 

And Katterfelto, with his hair on end 

At his own wonders, wondering for his bread. 

*Tis pleasant through the loop-holes of retreat 
To peep at such a world ; to see the stir 
Of the great Babel, and not feel the crowd ; 
To hear the roar she sends through all her gate* 
At a safe distance, where the dying sound 
Falls a soft murmur on th' uninjured ear^ 
Thus sitting, and surveying thus at ease 
The globe and its concerns, I seem advanc'd 
To some secure and more than mortal height, 
That liberates and exempts me from them all. 
It turns submitted to my view, turns round 
With all its generations ; I behold 
The tumult and am still. The sound of war 
Has lost its terrors ere it reaches me ; 
Grieves, but alarms me not. I mourn the pride 
And avarice that make man a wolf to man ; 
Hear the faint echo of those brazen throats 
By which he speaks the language of his heart. 
And sigh, but never tremble at the sound. 



BOOK IV. THE WINTER EVENING. lOJ 

He travels and expatiates, as the bee 

From flower to flower, so he from land to land 5 

The manners, customs, policy, of all. 

Pay contribution to the store he gleans ; 

He sucks intelligence in every clime, 

And spreads the honey of his deep research 

At his return — a rich repast for me. 

He travels, and I too. I tread his deck. 

Ascend his topmast, through his peering eyes 

Discover countries, with a kindred heart 

Suffer his woes, and share in his escapes; 

While fancy, like the finger of a clock. 

Runs the great circuit, and is still at home. 

Oh Winter, ruler of th' inverted year. 
Thy scattered hair with sleet like ashes filPd, 
Thy breath congealM upon thy lips, thy cheeks 
FringM with a beard made white with other snows 
Than those of age, thy forehead wrapt in clouds, 
A leafless branch thy sceptre, and thy throne 
A sliding car, indebted to no wheels. 
But urg'd by storms along its slippery way, 
I love thee, all unlovely as thou seem*st. 
And dreaded as thou art ! Thou hold'st the sun 
A prisoner in the yet undawning east. 
Shortening his journey between morn and noon, 
And hurrying him, impatient of his stay,' 
Down to the rosy west ; buV kindly still 
Compensating his loss with added hours 
Of social converse and instructive ease, 
And gathering, at short notice, in one group 
i2 



IM THE TASK. 



BOOK IV. 



The fan.ily dispersM, and fixing thought, 

Not less dispers'dby day-light and its cares. 

I crown thee king of intimate delights, 

Fire-side enjoyments, home born Iiappiness, 

And all the comforts that the lowly roof 

Of undisturb'd retirement, and the hours 

Of long uninterrupted evening, know. 

No rattling wheels stop short before these gatet 

No powder'd pert proficient in the art 

Of sounding an alarm assaults these doors 

Till the street rings ; no stationary steeds 

Cough their own knell, while, heedless of the sound, 

The silent circle fan themselves, and quake : 

But her# the needle plies its busy task. 

The pattern grows, the well depicted flower, j| 

Wrought patiently into the snowy lawn. 

Unfolds its bosom ; buds, and leaves, and sprigs, 

And curling tendrils, gracefully dispos'd, 

Tollow the nimble finger of the fair; 

A wreath that cannot fade, of flowers that blow 

With most success when all besides decay. 

The poet's or historian's page, by one 

Made vocal for th' amusement of the rest ; 

The sprightly lyre, whose treasure of sweet sounds 

The touch from many a trembling chord shakes out ; 

And the clear voice symphonious, yet distinct, 

And in the charming strife triumphant still } 

Beguile the night, and set a keener edge 

On female industry ; the threaded steel 

THes swiftly, and unfelt, the task proceeds. 



i 



BOOK IV, THE WINTER EVENING. 103 

The volume clos'd, the customary rites 
Of the last meal commence. A Roman meal ) 
Such as the mistress of the world once found 
Delicious, when her patriots of high note, 
Perhaps by moon-light, at their humble doors^ 
And under an old oak's domestic shade, 
Enjoy'd — spare feast ! a radish and an egg 1 
Discourse ensues, not trivial, yet not dull, 
Nor such as with a frown forbids the play 
Of fancy, or proscribes the sound of mirth : 
Nor do we madly, like an impious world. 
Who deem religion frenzy, and the God 
That made them an intruder on their joys, 
Start at his awful name, or deem his praise 
A jarring note. Themes of a graver tone, 
Exciting oft our gratitude and love, 
While we retrace with memory's pointing wand, 
That calls the past to our exact review, 
The dangers we escap'd, the broken snare, 
The disappointed foe, deliverance found 
Unlook'd for, hfe preserv'd and peace restored— 
Fruits of omnipotent eternal love. 
Oh evenings worthy of the gods ! exclaim'd 
The Sabine bard. Oh evenings, I reply, 
More to be prized and coveted than yours, 
As more illumin'd, and with nobler truths, 
That I, and mine, and those we love, enjoy. 

Is winter hideous in a garb like this ? 
Needs he the tragic fur, the smoke of lamps, 
The pent-up breath of an unsavoui*y throng, 



lot THE TASK. 



BOOK 17. 



To thaw him into feeling ; or the smart 

And snappish dialogue, that flippant wits 

Call comedy, to prompt him with a smile ? 

The self-complacent actor, when he views 

(Stealing a side-long glance at a full house) 

The slope of faces, from the floor to th' roof, 

(As if one master-spring controU'd them all) 

Relax'd into an universal grin, 

Sees not a countenance there that speaks of joy 

Half so refin'd or so sincere as ours. 

Cards were superfluous here, with all the tricks 

That idleness has ever yet contriv'd 

To fill the void of an unfurnish'd brain. 

To palliate dullness, and give time a shove. 

Time, as he passes us, has a dove's wing, 

Unsoil'd, and swift, and of a silken sound ; 

But the world's time is time in masquerade ! 

Theirs, should I paint him, has his pinions fledg'd 

With motley plumes ; and, where the peacock shows 

His azure eyes, is tinctur'd black and red 

With spots quadrangular of diamond form. 

Ensanguined hearts, clubs typical of strife. 

And spades the emblem of untimely graves. 

What should be and what was an hour-glass once. 

Becomes a dice-box, and a billiard mast 

Well does the work of his destructive scythe. 

Thus deck'd, he charms a world whom fashion blinds 

To his true worth, most pleas'd when idle most ; 

Whose only happy are their wasted hours. 

Even misses, at whose age their mothers wore 



I 



BOOR IV» THE WINTER EVENFNG. IdS 

The back-String and the bib, assume the dress 
Of womanhood, sit pupils in the school 
Of card-devoted time, and, night by nighty 
Plac'd at some vacant corner of the board. 
Learn every trick, and soon play all the game. 
But truce with censure. Roving as I rove. 
Where shall I find an end, or how proceed ? 
Ashe that travels far oft turns aside 
To view some rugged rock or mouldering tower 
Which seen, delights him not ; then coming home^ 
Describes and prints it, thst the world may know 
How far he went for what was nothing worth ^ 
So I, with brush in hand and pallet spread, 
With colours mix'd for a far different use. 
Paint cards and dolls, and every idle thing 
That fancy finds in her excursive flights* 

Come, Evening, once again, season of peace j 
Return,- sweet Evening, and continue long I 
Methinks I see thee in the streaky west. 
With matron-step slow-moving, while the night 
Treads on thy sweeping train ; one hand employed 
In letting fall the curtain of repose 
On bird and beast, the other charg'd for maa 
With sweet oblivion of the cares of day : 
Not sumptuously adorn'd,. nor needing aid,. 
Like homely featur'd night, of clustering gems f 
A star or two, just twinkling on thy brow, 
Suffiees thee ; save that the moon is thine 
No less than hers, not worn indeed on high. 
With ostentatious pageantry, but set 



106^ THE TASK. 



BOOK IV* 



With modest grandeur in thy purple zone. 

Resplendent less, but of an ampler round. 

Come then, and thou shalt find thy votary calm^ 

Or make me so. Composure is thy gift ; 

And, whether I devote thy gentle hours 

To books, to music, or the poet's toil ; 

To weaving nets for bird-alluring fruit ; 

Or twining silken threads round ivory reels. 

When they command whom man was born to please f 

I slight thee not, but make th^e w^elcome still. 

Just when our drawing-rooms begin to blaze 
With lights, by clear reflection multiplied 
From many a mirror, in which he of Gath 
Goliath, might have seen his giant bulk 
Whole, without stooping, towering crest and aQ, 
My pleasures, too, begin. But me, perhaps, 
The glowing hearth may satisfy aw^hile 
With faint illumination, that upHfts 
The shadow to the ceiHng, there by fits 
Dancing uncouthly to the quivering flame. 
Not un delightful is an hour to me 
So spent in parlour twihght : such a gloom 
Suits well the thoughtful or unthinking mind. 
The mind contemplative, with some new theme 
Pregnant, or indispos'd alike to all. 
Laugh ye, w^ho boast your more mercurial powers, 
That never feel a stupor, know no pause. 
Nor need one : I am conscious, and confess, 
Fearless, a soul that does not always think. 
Me oft has fancy, ludicrous and wild, 



tOQK IV. THE WINTER EVENING. 107 

Soothed with a waking dream of houses, towers, 

Trees, churches, and strange visages, expressed 

In the red cinders, while with poring eye 

I gaz'd, myself creating what I saw. 

Kor less amusM have I quiescent watch'd 

The sooty films that play upon the bars. 

Pendulous, and foreboding, in the view 

Of superstition, prophesying still, 

Though still deceived, some stranger's near approach* 

*Tis thus the understanding takes repose 

In indolent vacuity of thought, 

And sleeps and is refreshed. Meanwhile the face 

Conceals the mood lethargic with a mask 

Of deep deliberation, as the man 

Were task'd to his full strength, absorbed and lost. 

Thus oft, reclin'd at ease, I lose an hour 

At evening, till at length the freezing blast, 

That sweeps the bolted shutter, summons home 

The recollected powers ; and, snapping short 

The glassy threads, with which the fancy weaves 

Her brittle toys, restores me to myself. 

How calm is my recess ; and how the frost. 

Raging abroad, and the rough wind, endear 

The silence and the warmth enjoy'd within ! 

I saw the woods and fields, at close of day, 

A variegated show .; the meadows green, 

Though faded ; and the lands, where lately wav'd 

The golden harvest, of a mellow brown, 

UpturnM so lately by the forceful share. 

I saw far oiFthe weedy fallows smik 



i08 THE TASK. BOOK IV. 

With verdure not unprofitable, graz'd 
By flocks, fast feeding, and selecting each 
His favorite herb ; while all the leafless groves, 
That skirt th* horizon, wore a sable hue. 
Scarce notic'd in the kindred dusk of eve. 
To-morrow brings a change, a total change t 
Which even now, though silently performed 
And slowly, and by most unfelt, the face 
Of universal nature undergoes. 
Fast falls a fleecy shower : the downy flakes, 
Descending, and with never-ceasing lapse, 

Softly alighting upon all below, 
Assimilate all objects. Earth receives 
Gladly the thickening mantle ; and the green 
And tender blade, that fear'd the chilling blasts 

Escapes unhurt beneath so warm a veiL 

In such a w^orld ; i.^ thorny, and where none 
Finds happiness unblighted ; or, if found, 
Without some thistly sorrow at its side ; 
It seems the part of wisdom, and no sin 
Against the law of love, to measure lots 
With less distinguished than ourselves ; that thus 
We may with patience bear our moderate ills, 
And sympathize w4th others, suffering more. 
Ill fares the traveller now, and he that stalks 
In ponderous boots beside his reeking team* 
The wain goes heavily, impeded sore 
By congregated loads adhering close 
To the clogg'd wheels ; and in its sluggish pace. 
Noiseless, appears a moving hill of snow. 



B0OK IV. THE WINTER EVENING. 109 

The toiling Steeds expand the nostril wide, 

While every breath, by respiration strong 

Forc'd downward, is consolidated soon 

Upon their jutting chests. He, formM to bear 

The pelting brunt of the tempestuous night. 

With half-shut eyes, and pucker *d cheeks, and teeth 

Presented bare against the storm, plods on. 

One hand secures his hat, save when with both 

He brandishes his pliant length of whip. 

Resounding oft, and never heard in vain. 

Oh happy ; and, in my account, denied 

That sensibility of pain with which 

Refinement is endued, thrice happy thou ! 

Thy frame, robust and hardy, feels indeed 

The piercing cold, but feels it unimpaired. 

The learned finger never need explore 

Thy vigorous pulse ; and the unhealthful east, 

That breathes the spleen, and searches every bone 

Of the infirm, is wholesome air to thee. 

Thy days roll on, exempt from household care ; 

Thy waggon is thy wife ; and the poor beasts, 

That drag the dull companion to and fro, 

Thine helpless cliarge, dependent on thy care. 

Ah, treat them kindly ! rude as thou appear'st, 

Yet show that thou hast mercy ! which the great. 

With needless hurry whirl*d from place to place, 

Humane as they would seem, not always show. 

Poor, yet industrious, modest, quiet, neat ; 
Such claim compassion in a night like this, 
And have a friend in eveiy feehng heart. 

VOL. II. K 



110 THE TASK. «QOK IT* 

Warm'd while it lasts, by labour, all day long 
They brave the season, and yet find at eve, 
ill clad and fed but sparely, time to cool. 
The frugal housewife trembles when she lights 
Her scanty stock of brush-wood, blazing clear, 
Eut dying soon, like all terrestrial joys. 
The few small embers left she nurses well 5 
And, while her infant race, with outspread hands 
And crowded knees, sit cowering o'er the sparks. 
Retires, content to quake, so they be warm*d. 
The man feels least, as more inur'd than she 
To winter, and the current in his veins 
More briskly mov'd by his severer toil ; 
Yet he, too, finds his own distress in theirs. 
The taper soon extinguished, which I saw 
Dangled along at the cold finger*s end 
Just when the day declin'd, and the brown loaf 
Lodged on the shelf, half eaten, without sauce 
Of savoury cheese, or butter, costlier still ; 
Sleep seems their only refuge : for, alas, 
Where penury is felt the thought is chain 'd. 
And sweet colloquial pleasures are but few ! 
With all this thrift they thrive not. AH the care^ 
Ingenious parsimony takes, but just 
Saves the small inventory, bed, and stool, 
Skillet, and old carv'd chest, from public sale* 
They live, and live without extorted alms 
From grudging hands ; but other boast have none 
To sooth their honest pride, that scorns to beg, 
Nor comfort else, but in their mutual lov^. 



SOOK TV, THE WINTER EVENING, III 

I praise you much, ye meek and patient pair. 
For ye are worthy ; choosing rather far 
A dry but independent crust, hard earn'd, 
And eaten with a sigh, than to endure 
The rugged frowns and insolent rebuffs 
Of knaves in office, partial in the work 
Of distribution ; liberal of their aid- 
To clamorous importunity in rags,> 
But oft-times deaf to suppliants,, who would blus h. 
To wear a tatter'd garb however coarse. 
Whom famine cannot reconcile to filth ; 
These ask with painful shyness,, and refus*d 
Because deserving, silently retire !' 
But be ye of good courage ! Time itself 
Shall much befriend you. Time shall give increase j 
And all your numerous progeny, well train'd. 
But helpless, in. few years shall find their hands. 
And labour too. Meanwhile ye shall not want 
What, conscious of your virtues, we can spare. 
Nor what a wealthier than ourselves may send, 
I mean the man who when the distant poor 
Need help, denies them nothing but his name. 

But poverty, with most who whimper forth 
Their long complaints, is self-inflicted woe ; 
Th' effect of laziness or sottish waste. 
Now goes the nightly thief prowling abroad 
For plunder ; much solicitous how best 
He may compensate for a day of sloth 
By works of darkness and nocturnal wrong. 
Woe to the gardener's pale, the farmer's hedge,. 



112 THE TASK. BOOK IV. 

PlasliM neatly, and secured with driven stakes 

Deep in the loamy bank. Uptorn by strength, 

Resistless in so bad a cause, but lame 

To better deeds, he bundles up the spoil — 

An ass*s burden — and, when laden most 

And heaviest, hght of foot, steals fast away. 

Nor does the boarded hovel better guard 

The well-stack'd pile of riven logs and roots 

From his pernicious force. Nor will he leave 

Unwrench'd the door, however well secured, 

Where chanticleer amidst his harem sle3ps 

In unsuspecting pomp. Twitch'd from the perch, 

He gives the princely bird, with all his wives, 

To his voracious bag, struggling in vain, 

And loudly wondering at the sudden change. — 

Nor this to feed his own ! 'Twere some excuse 

Did pity of their sufFeiings warp aside 

His principle, and tempt him into sin 

For their support, so destitute. — But they 

Neorlected pine at home ; themselves, as more 

Exposed than others, with less scruple made 

His victims, robb'd of their defenceless all. 

Cruel is all he does. 'Tis quenchless thirst 

Of ruinous ebriety that prompts 

His every action, and imbrutes the man. 

O^ for a law to noose the villain's neck 

Who starves his own ; who persecutes the blood 

He gave them in his children's veins, and hates 

And wrongs the woman he has sworn to love I 



BOOIC IV. rirE WrNTER EVfiNMNG. 113 

Pass where we may, through city or through town, 
Village or hamlet, of this merry land, 
Though lean and beggar'd, every twentieth pac^' 
Conducts th' unguarded nose to such a whifF 
Of stale debauch, forth-issuing from the styes 
That law his licensed, as makes temperance reel. 
There sit, involved and lost in curling clouds 
Gf Indian fume, and guzzling deep, the boor, 
The lacquey, and the groom : the craftsman there 
Takes a Lethaean leave of all his toil ; 
Smith, cobbler, joiner, he that phes the shears, 
And he that kneads the dough ; all loud alike, 
All learned, and all drunk ! The fiddle screams 
Plaintive and piteous, as it wept and wail'd 
Its wasted tones and harmony unheard : 
Fierce the dispute, whatever the theme ; while she,* 
Fell Discord, arbitress of such debate, 
Perch'd on the sign-post, holds with even hand- 
Her undecisive scales.- In this she lays 
A weight of ignorance ; in that, of ptide ; 
And smiles, delighted with th' eternal poise. 
Dire is the frequent curse, and its twin sound 
The cheek-distending oath, not to be prais*d- 
As ornamental, musical, polite, - 
Like those which modern senators employ, • 
Whose oath is rhetorick, and who swear for fame 2* 
Behold the schools in which plebeian minds, 
Once simple, are initiated in arts. 
Which some may practise with politer grace, 
But none with readier skill !^ — 'tis here they learn^ 
K 2 



in THE TASK. BOOK IT. 

The road that leads from competence and peace. 

To indigence and rapine ; till at last, 

Society, grown weary of the load, 

Shakes her encumbered lap, and casts them out. 

But censure profits little : vain th' attempt 

To advertise in verse a public pest, 

That, like the filth with which the peasant feeds 

His hungry acres, stinks, and is of use. 

The excise is fattened vvith the rich result 

Of all this riot ; and ten thousand casks. 

Forever dribbhng out their base contents, 

Touch'd by the Midas finger of the state, 

Bleed gold for ministers to sport away. 

Drink, and be mad ti.en ; 'tis your country bids ! 

Gloriously drunk, obey th' important call ! 

Her cause demands th' assistance of your throats 5~ 

Yc all can swallow, and she asks no more. 

Would I had fallen upon those happier days 
That poets celebrate ; those golden times. 
And those Arcadian scenes, that Maro sings, 
And Sidney, warbler of poetic prose. 
Nymphs were Dianas then, and swains had hearta 
That felt their virtues ; innocence, it seems. 
From courts dismiss'd, found shelter in the groves j 
The footsteps of simphcity, irapress'd 
Upon the yielding herbage, (so they sing) 
Then w^re not all effacM : then speech profane^ 
And manners profligate, were rarely found ; 
Observed as prodigies, and soon reclaim.'d. 
Vain wish I those days were never : airy dream* 



BOOK IV. THE WINTER EVENING. 115 

Sat for the picture 5 and the poet's hand. 

Imparting substance to an empty shade, 

Impos'd a gay dehrium for a truth. 

Grant it : I still must envy them an age 

That favour'd such a dream ; in days hke these 

Impossible, when virtue is so scarce, 

That to suppose a scene where she presides, 

Is tramontane, and stumbles all belief. 

No : we are polish'd now ! the rural lass. 

Whom once her virgin modesty and grace, 

Her artless manners, and her neat attire, 

So dignified, that she was hardly less 

Than the fair shepherdess of old romance, 

Is seen no more. The character is lost ! 

Her head, adorn 'd with lappets pinn'd aloft, 

And ribbands streaming gay, superbly rais'd, 

And magnified beyond all human size. 

Indebted to some smart wig-weaver's hand 

For more than half the tresses it sustains ; 

Her elbows ruffled, and her tottering form 

111 propp'd upon French heels ; she might be deem'd 

(But that the basket danghng on her arm 

Interprets her more truly) of a rank ♦ 

Too proud for dairy work, or sale of eggs. 

Expect her soon with foot -boy at her heels, 

No longer blushing for her awkward load, 

Her train and her umbrella all her care ! 

The town has ting*d the country ; and the stain 
Appears a spot upon a vestal's robe. 
The worse for what it soils. The fashion runs 



116' THE TASK. BOOICIV. 

Down into scenes still rural ; but, alas, 

Scenes rarely grac'd with rural manners now ! 

Time was, when, in the pastoral retreat, 

Th* unguarded door was safe ; men did not watch 

T' invade another's right, or guard their own. 

Then sleep was undisturbed by fear, unscar'd 

By drunken bowlings ; and the chilling tale 

Qf midnight murder was a wonder heard 

With doubtful credit, told to frighten babes.- 

But farewelnow to unsuspicious nights. 

And slumbers unalarm'd ! Now, ere you sleep ^^ 

See that your poHsh'd arms be prim*d with care,. 

And drop the night-bolt ; — ruf&ans are abroad ; 

And the first larum of the cock's shrill throat 

May prove a trumpet summoning your ear 

To horrid sounds of hostile feet within. 

Even day -light has its dangers : and the walk 

Through pathless wastes and woods, unconscious 

once 
Gf other tenants than melodious birds, 
Gr harmless flocks, is hazardous and bold. 
Lamented change ! to which full many a cause 
Inveterate, hopeless of a cure, conspires. 
The course of human things from good to ill,:- 
From ill to worse, is fatal, never fails. 
Increase of power begets increase of wealth 5 - 
Wealth luxury, and luxury excess ; 
Excess, the scrofulous and itchy plague 
That seizes first the opulent, descends 
To the next rank contagious, and in time~ 



BOOK IV. THE WINTER EVENING, 117 

Taints downward all the graduated scale 
Of order, from the chariot to the plough. 
The rich, and they that have an arm to check 
The license of the lowest in degree, 
Desert their ofRce ; and themselves, intent 
On pleasure, haunt the capital, and thus 
To all the violence of lawless hands 
Resign the scenes their presence might protect. 
Authority herself not seldom sleeps. 
Though resident, and witness of the wrong. 
The plump convivial parson often bears 
The magisterial sword in vain, and lay a 
His reverence and his worship both to rest 
On the same cushion of habitual sloth. 
Perhaps timidity restrains his arm ; 
When he should strike he trembles, and sets free, 
Himself enslav'd by terror of the band, 
Th' audacious convict, whom he dares not bind^ 
Perhaps, though by profession ghostly pure. 
He too may have his vice, and sometimes prove 
Less dainty than becomes his grave outside 
In lucrative concerns. Examine well 
His milk-white hand ; the palm is hardly clean- 
But here and there an Hgly smutch appears. 
Foh ! 'twas a bribe that left it : he has touch'd 
Corruption ! Whoso seeks an audit here 
Propitious, pays his tribute, game or fish, 
Wild-fowl or venison : and his errand speeds. 

But faster far, and more than all the rest, 
A noble cause, which none who bears a spark 



KI'8< THE TA9KV 



BOOK IT^ 



Of public Virtue ever wish'd remov'd, 

Works the deplor'd and mischievous effect. 

*Tis universal soldiership has stabb'd 

The heart of merit in the meaner class, 

Arms, through the vanity and brainless rage 

Of those that bear them, in whatever cause, 

Seem most at variance with all moral goodj. 

And incompatible with serious thought. 

The clown, the child of nature, without guilejt, 

Blest with an infant's ignorance of all 

But his own simple pleasures ; now and thea 

A wrestling-match, a foot-race, or a fair ; 

Is ballotted, and trembles at the news : 

Sheepish he doffs his hat, and, mumbling, swears 

A bible oath to bewhate'er they please. 

To do he knows not what ! The task perform'd» 

That instant he becomes the Serjeant's care,. 

His pupil, and his torment, and his jest. 

His awkward gait, his introverted toes. 

Bent knees, round shoulders, and dejected looks^. 

Procure him many a curse. By slow degrees, 

Unapt to learn, and form'd of stubborn stuff, 

He yet by slow degrees puts off himself, 

Grows conscious of a change, and likes it well :- 

He stands erect ; his slouch becomes a walk ; 

He steps right onward, martial in his air. 

His form and movement ; is as smart above 

As meal and larded locks can make him ; wears> 

His hat, or his plum'd helmet, with a grace :, 

And^his three years of heroship expir'd,, 



£00K 1>^- THE WINTER ^VXNING. 119 

Returns indignant to the slighted plough. 

He hates the field, in which no fife or drum 

Attends him ; drives his cattle to a march ; 

And sighs for the smart comrades he has left, 

^Twere well if his exterior change were all — 

But with his clumsy port the wretch has lost 

His ignorance and harmless manners too ! 

To swear, to game, to drink ; to show at home, 

By lewdness, idleness, and sabbath-breach. 

The great proficiency he made abroad ; 

T' astonish and to grieve his gazing friends ; 

To break some maiden's and his mother's heart 5 

To be a pest where he was useful once ; 

Are his sole aim, and all his glory, now I 

Man in society is like a flower 
Blown in its native bed : 'tis there alone 
His faculties, expanded in full bloom. 
Shine out ; there only reach their proper use. 
But man, associated and leaguM with man 
By regal warrant, or self-join'd by bond 
For interest-sake, or swarming into clane 
Beneath one head for purposes of war, 
Like flowers selected from the rest, and bound 
And bundled dose to fill some crowded vase, 
Fades rapidly, and, by compression marr'd, 
Contracts defilement not to be endur'd. 
Hence chartered boroughs are such public plagues ; 
And burghers, men immaculate perhaps 
In all their private functions, once combin'd, 
Become a loathsome body, only fit 



120 



THE TASK. BOOK IV, 



For dissolution, hurtful to the main. 
Hence merchants, unimpeachable of sin 
Against the charities of domestic life. 
Incorporated, seem at once to lose 
Their nature ; and, disclaiming all regard 
For mercy and the common rights of man^ 
Build factories with blood, conducting trade 
At the sword's point, and dying the white robe 
Of innocent commercial justice red. 
Hence, too, the field of glory, as the world 
Misdeems it, dazzled by its bright array, 
With all its majesty of thundering pomp. 
Enchanting music and immortal wreaths, 
Is but a school where thoughtlessness is taught 
On principle, where foppery atones 
For folly, gallantry for every vice. 

But, shghted as it is, and by the great 
Abandoned, and, which still I more regret. 
Infected with the manners and the modes 
It knew not once, the country wins me still. 
I never fram'd a wish, or forniM a plan. 
That flatter'd me with hopes of earthly bliss, 
But there I laid the scene. The re early stray'd 
My fancy, ere yet liberty of choice 
Had found me, or the hope of being free. 
My very dreams were rural ; rural, too, 
The first-born efforts of my youthful muse. 
Sportive, and jingling her poetic bells 
Ere yet her ear was mistress of their powers. 
No bard could ploase me but w^hose lyre was tun'd 



BOOK IV. THE WINTER EVENING. 121 

To nature's praises. Heroes and their feats 

Fatigu'd me, never weary of the pipe 

Of Tityrus, assembhng, as he sang, 

The rustic throng beneath his favourite beech. 

Then Milton had indeed a poet's charms : 

New to my taste, his Paradise surpassed 

The struggling efforts of my boyish tongue 

To speak its excellence. I danc'd for joy. 

I marvelPd much, that at so ripe an age 

As twice-seven years, his beauties had then first 

Engag'd my wonder : and, admiring still, 

And still admiring, with regret supposed 

The joy half-lost because not sooner found. 

There, too, enamour'd of the life I lov*d, 

Pathetic in its praise, in its pursuit 

Determined, and possessing it at last 

With transports such as fa vour'd lovers feel, 

I studied, priz'd, and wish'd that I had known, 

Ingenious Cowley ! and, though now reclaimed 

By modern lights from an erroneous taste, 

I cannot but lament thy splendid wit 

Entangled in the cobwebs of the schools. 

I still revere thee, courtly though retired ; 

Though stretch'd at ease in Chertsey's silent bowers. 

Not unemploy'd ; and finding rich amends 

For a lost world in solitude and verse. 

'Tis born with all : the love of nature's works 

Is an ingredient in the compound man, 

Infus'd at the creation of the kind. 

And, though th' Almighty Maker has throughout 

VOL. II. , 



^'^2 THE TASK. BOOK IV. 

Discriminated each from each by strokes 

And touches of his hand with so much art 

Diversified, that two were never found 

Twins at all points-^yet this obtains in all, 

1 hat all discern a beauty in his works, 

And ail can taste them : minds th^t have been formed 

And tutor'd with a relish more exact, 

But none without some relish, none unmov'd. 

It is a flame that dies not even there. 

Where nothing feeds it ; neither business, crowds^ 

Nor habits of luxurious city life. 

Whatever else they smother of true worth 

In human bosoms, quench it or abate. 

The villas with which London stands begirt, 

Like a swarth Indian with his belt of beads. 

Prove it. A breath of unadulterate air. 

The glimpse of a green pasture, how they cheer 

The citizen ! and brace his languid fi*ame ! 

Even in the stiiling bosom of the town, 

A garden, in which nothing thrives., has charms 

That sooth the rich possessor : much consolM, 

That here and there some sprigs of mournful mint, 

Of nightshade, or valerian, grace the well 

He cultivates. These serve him with a hint 

That nature lives : that sight-refreshing green 

Is still the livery she dehghts to wear. 

Though sickly samples of th' exuberant whole. 

What are the casements linM with creeping herbs, 

The prouder sashes fronted with a range 

Of orange, myrtle, or the fragrant weed^ 



BOOK IV. THE WINTER EVENM^^G. 1 22 

The Frenchman's* darling ? are they not all proofs, 

That man, immur'd In cities, still retains 

His inborn inextinguishable thirst 

Of rural scenes, compensating his loss 

By supplemental shifts, the best he may ? 

The most unfurnished with the means of life, 

And they that never pass their brick-wall bounds 

To range the fields and treat their lungs with air, 

Yet feel the burning instinct i over head 

Suspend their crazy boxes, planted thick, 

And watered duly. There the pitcher stands 

A fragment, and the spoutless tea-pot there ; 

Sad witnesses how close-fpent man regrets 

The country ; with what ardour he contrives 

A peep at nature, when he can no more. 

Hail, therefore, patroness of health, and ease, 
And contemplation, heart-consoling joys 
And harmless pleasures, in the throng'd abode 
Of multitudes unknown ! hail, rural life ! 
Address himself who will to the pursuit 
Of honours, or emoluments, or fame ; 
I shall not add myself to such a chase, 
Thwart his attempts, or envy his success. 
Some must be great. Great of&ces will have 
Great talents. And God gives to every man 
The virtue, temper, understanding, taste, 
That lifts him into life ; and lets him fall 
Just in the niche he was ordainM to fill. 



* Mignonette, 



124' 



THE TASK. 



BOOK 1V\ 



To the deliverer of an injur'd land 

He gives a tongue t'enlarge upon, a heart 

To feel, and courage to redress her wrongs j 

To monarchs dignity ; to judges sense j 

To artists ingenuity and skill ; 

To me an unambitious mind, content 

In the low vale of life, that early felt 

A wish for ease and leisure, and ere long 

Found here that leisure and that ease I wish'd. 



ARGUMENT OF THE FIFTH BOOK. 

jifrosly mormng, — The foddering of cattle, — The wood* 
man and his dog » — The poultry. — Whimsical effects of 
frost at a waterfall" — The Empress of Russians palace 
of ice^-^^^musements of monarch s. — War one of them» 
^^Warsy ivhence^-^Aud fwhence monarchy. — The evils 
of it. — English and French loyalty contrasted. — The 
Bastilci and a prisoner there. — Liberty the chief recom* 
mendation of this country. — Modern patriotism quest ion^ 
ahky and why. — The perishable nature of the best human 
institutions. — Spiritual liberty no t perishable. — The slav^ 
ish state of man by nature, — Deliver him^ Deisty if 
you can. — Grace tnust do it, — The respective merits of 
patriots and martyrs stated. — Their different treatment. 
Happy freedom of the man whom grace males free.^^ 
His relish of the worh of God. — Address to the Crea^ 
ior^ 



THE TASK. 



BOOK r. 



THE WINTER MORNING WALK. 

JL IS morning ; and the sun with ruddy orb 
Ascending, fires th* horizon ; while the clouds. 
That crowd away before the driving wind, 
More ardent as the disk emerges more, 
Resemble most some city in a blaze. 
Seen through the leafless wood. His slanting ray 
Slides ineffectual down the snowy vale. 
And, tinging all with his own rosy hue. 
From every herb and every spiry blade 
Stretches a length of shadow o'er the field. 
Mine, spindling into longitude immense, 
In spite of gravity and sage remark 
That I myself am but a fleeting shade, 
Provokes me to a smile. With eye askance 
I view the muscular proportion *d limb 
Transform'd to a lean shank. The shapeless pair. 



128 THE TASK. BOOK 1U 

As they design'd to mock me, at my side 
Take step for step ; and, as I near approach 
The cottage, walk along the plastered wall. 
Preposterous sight ! the legs without the man. 
The verdure of the plain lies buried deep 
Beneath the dazzling deluge ; and the bents, 
And coarser grass, upspearing o'er the rest. 
Of late unsightly and unseen, now shine 
Conspicuous, and, in bright apparel clad 
And fledg'd with icy feathers, nod superb. 
The cattle mourn in corners where the fence 
Screens them, and seem half petrified to sleep 
In unrecumbent sadness. There they wait 
Their wonted fodder ; not like hungering man. 
Fretful if unsupplied ; but silent, meek, 
And patient of the slow-pac*d swain's delay. 
He from the stack carves out th' accustom'd load. 
Deep-plunging, and again deep-plunging oft, 
His broad keen knife into the solid mass : 
Smooth as a wall the upright remnant stands. 
With such undeviating and even force 
He severs it away : no needless care, 
Lest storms should overset the leaning pile 
Deciduous, or its own unbalanced weight. 
Forth goes the woodman, leaving unconcerned 
The cheerful haunts of man ; to wield the axe 
And drive the wedge, in yonder forest drear, 
From morn to eve his solitary task. 
Shaggy and lean, and shrewd, with pointed ears 
And tail cropp'd short, half lurcher and half cur— 



BOOK V. THE WINTER MORNING WALK, 12^ 

His dog attends him. Close behind his heel 

Now creeps he slow, and now with many a frisk 

Wide-scampering, snatches up the drifted snow 

With ivory teeth, or ploughs it with his snout; 

Then shakes his powdered coat, and barks for joy. 

Heedless of all his pranks, the sturdy churl 

Moves right towards the mark ; nor stops for aught. 

But now and then with pressure of his thumb 

To adjust the fragrant charge of a short tube 

That fumes beneath his nose : the trailing cloud 

Streams far behind him, scenting all the air. 

Now from the roost, or from the neighboring pale. 

Where, diligent to catch the first faint gleam 

Of smiling day, they gossipp'd side by side. 

Come trooping at the housewife's well known call 

The feathered tribes domestic. Half on wing, 

And half on foot, they brush the fleecy flood. 

Conscious and fearful of too- deep a plunge. 

The sparrows peep, and quit the sheltering eaves 

To seize the fair occafion. Well they eye 

The scattered grain ; and, thievishly resolved 

To escape the impending famine, often scar'd. 

As oft return — ^ pert voracious kind. 

Clean riddance quickly made, one only care 

Remains to each — ^the search of sunny nook. 

Or shed impervious to the blast. Resigned 

To sad necessity, the cock foregoes 

His wonted strut ; and, wading at their head 

With well considered steps, seems to resent 

His altered gait and stateliness retrenched. 



130 THE TASK. 



BOOK V. 



How find the myriads, that in summer cheer 

The hills and vallies with their ceaseless songs, 

Due sustenance, or where subsist they now ? 

Earth yields them naught ; th' imprison'd worm is safe 

Beneath the frozen clod ; all seeds of herbs 

Lie covered close 5 and berry-bearing thorns, 

That feed the thrush, (whatever some suppose) 

Afford the smaller minstrels no supply. 

The long protracted rigour of the year 

Thins all their numerous flocks. In chinks and hole? 

Ten thousand seek an unmolested end. 

As instinct prompts ; self-buried ere they die. 

The very rooks and daws forsake the fields, 

Where neither grub, nor root, nor earth-nut, now 

Repays their labour more ; and perched aloft 

By the way-side, or stalking in the path. 

Lean pensioners upon the traveller's track. 

Pick up their nauseous dole, though sweet to them, 

Of voided pulse or half-digested grain. 

The streams are lost amid the splendid blank, 

O'erwhelming all distinction^ On the ilood^ 

Indurated and fix'd, the snowy weight 

Lies undissolved ; while silently beneath, 

And unperceiv'd, the current steals away- 

Not so, where, scornful of a check, it leaps 

The mill-dam, dashes on the restless wheel, 

And wantons in the pebbly gulf below : 

No frost can bind it there ; its utmost force 

Can but arrest the light and smoky mist 

That in its fall the liquid sheet throws wide. 



BOOK V. THE WINTER MORNING WALK. ISl 

And see where it has hung the embroidered banks 

With forms so various, that no powers of art, 

The pencil or the pen, may trace the scene ! 

Here glittering turrets rise, upbearing high 

(Fantastic misarrangement !) on the roof 

Large growth of what may seem the sparkling trees 

And shrubs of fairy land. The crystal drops 

That trickle down the branches, fast congeal'd, 

Shoot into pillars of pellucid length, 

And prop the pile they but adorn'd before. 

Here grotto within grotto safe defies 

The sun^-beam ; there, imboss'd and fretted wild. 

The growing wonder takes a thousand shapes 

Capricious, in which fancy seeks in vain 

The likeness of some object seen before. 

Thus nature works as if to mock at art. 

And in defiance of her rival powers ; 

By these fortuitous and random strokes 

Performing such inimitable feats 

As she with all her rules can never reach. 

Less worthy of applause, though more admir'd. 

Because a novelty, the work of man. 

Imperial mistress of the fur-clad Russ ! 

Thy most magnificent and mighty freak. 

The wonder of the North. No forest fell 

When thou would'st build ; no quarry sent its Stores 

T' enrich thy walls : but thou didst hew the floods, 

And make thy marble of the glassy wave. 

in such a palace Aristseus found 

C)renc, when he bore the plaintive tale 



1S2 THE TASK. 



ROOK IV, 



Of his lost bees to her maternal ear : 

In such a palace poetry might place 

The armory of winter ; where his troops, 

The gloomy clouds, find weapons, arrowy sleet. 

Skin-piercing volley, blossom-bruising hail. 

And snow that often bhnds the traveller's course. 

And wraps him in an unexpected tomb. 

Silently as a dream the fabric rose ; — 

No sound of hammer or of saw was there : 

Ice upon ice, the well adjusted parts 

Were soon conjoined ; nor other cement ask'd 

Than water interfus'd to make them one. 

Lamps gracefully disposed, and of all hues, 

Illumin'd every side : a watery light 

Gleam'd through the clear transparency, thatseem'd 

Another moon new risen, or meteor fallen 

From heaven to earth, of lambent flame serene. 

So stood the brittle prodigy ; though smooth 

And slippery the materials, yet frost-bound 

Firm as a roek. Nor wanted aught within. 

That royal residence might well befit, 

For grandeur or for use. Long wavy wreaths 

Of flowers, that fear'd no enemy but warmth, 

BlushM on the pannels. Mirror needed none 

"Where all was vitreous ; but in order due 

Convivial table and commodious seat 

(What seem'd at least commodious seat) were there ; 

Sofa, and co uch, .and high-built throne august. 

The same lubricity was found in all, 

Aodall was moist to the warm touch ; a scene 



BOOK V. THE WINTER EVENING WALK. 135 

Of evanescent glory, once a stream, 

And soon to slide into a stream again. 

Alas ! 'twas but a mortifying stroke 

Of undesignM severity, that glanc'd 

(Made by a monarch) on her own estate, 

On human grandeur and the courts of kings. 

'Twas transient in its nature, as in show 

'Twas durable ; as w^orthless, as it seem'd 

Intrinsically precious ; to the foot 

Treacherous and false ; it smilM, and it was cold. 

Great princes have great playthings. Some have 

pky'd 
At hewing mountains into men, and some 
At building human wonders mountain-high. 
Some have amus'd the dull, sad years ofhfe 
(Life spent in indolence, and therefore sad) 
With schemes of monumental fame ; and sought 
By pyramids and mausolean pomp, 
Short -liv'd themselves, t' immortalize their bones. 
Some seek diversion in the tented field. 
And make the sorrows of mankind their sport. 
But war's a game, which, were their subjects wise, 
Kings would not plav at. Nations would do well 
T' extort their truncheons from the puny hands 
Of heroes, whose infirm and baby minds 
Are gratified with mischief; and who spoil. 
Because men sufi^er it, their toy the world. 

When Babel was confounded, and the ereat 
Confederacy of projectors wild and vain 
Was split into diversity of tongues, 

VOL. II. M 



I3i THE TASK. BOOK V. 

Then, as a shcplierd separates his flock, 

These to the upland, to the valley those, 

God drave asunder, and assign'd their lot 

To all the nations. Ample was the boon 

He gave them, in its distribution fair 

And equal ; and he bade them dwell in peace. 

Peace was awhile their care : they plough'd, and 

sow'd. 
And reap'd their plenty, without grudge or strife. 
But violence can never longer sleep 
Than human passions please. In every heart 
Are sown the sparks that kindle fiery war ; 
Occasion needs but fan them, and they blaze. 
Cain had already shed a brother's blood : 
The deluge wash'd it out ; but left unquench'd 
The seeds of murder in the breast of man. 
Soon, by a righteous judgment, in the line 
Of his descending progeny was found 
The first artificer of death ; the shrewd 
Contriver who first sweated at the forge, 
Andforc'd the blunt and yet unblooded steel 
To a keen edge, and made it bright for war. 
Him, Tubal nam*d, the Vulcan of old times. 
The sword and falchion their inventor claim ; 
And the first smith was the first murderei's son. 
His art survived the waters ; and ere long 
When man was multiplied and spread abroad 
In tribes and clans, and had begun to call 
These meadows and that range of hills his owii, 
The tasted sweets of property begat 



BOOK V. THE WINTER MORNING WALK. 135 

Desire of more ; and industry in some, 

T' improve and cultivate their just demesne. 

Made others covet what they saw so fair. 

Thus war began on earth ; these fought for spoil, 

And those in self-defence. Savage at first 

The onset, and irregular. At length 

One eminent above the rest, for strength, 

For stratagem, or courage, or for all. 

Was chosen leader : him they serv'd in war. 

And him in peace, for sake of v/arlike deeds 

Reverenc'd no less. Who could v/ith him compare i 

Or who so worthy to control themselve« 

As he whose prowess had subdu'd their foes ? 

Thus war, affording field for the display 

Of virtue, made one chief, whom times of peace. 

Which have their exigencies too, and call 

For skill in government, at length made king. 

King v^as a name too proud for man to wear 

With modesty and meekness ; and the crown, 

Sodazzhng in their eyes who set it on, 

Was sure t'intoxicate the brows it bound 

It is the abject property of most. 

That, being parcel of the common mass, 

And destitute of means to raise themselves. 

They sink and settle lower than they need. 

They know not, what it is to feel within 

A comprehensive faculty, that grasps 

Great purposes with ease, that turns and wields, 

Almost without an effort, plans too vast 

For their conception, which they cannot move. 



136 



THE TASK. BOOK V. 



Conscious of impotence, they soon grow drunk 

With gazing when they see an able man 

Step forth to notice ; and, besotted thus. 

Build him a pedestal, and say, " Stand there, 

** And be our admiration and our praise." 

They roll themselves before him in the dust, 

Then most deserving in their own account 

When most extravagant in his applause, 

As if exalting him they rais'd themselves* 

Thus by degrees, self-cheated of their sound 

And sober judgment, that he is but man, 

They demi-deify and fume him so, 

That in due season he forgets it too. 

Inflated and astrut with self-conceit, 

He gulps the windy diet ; and ere long. 

Adopting their mistake, profoundly thinks 

The world was made in vain, if not for him. 

Thenceforth they are his cattle ; drudges bora 

To bear his burdens, drawing in his gears, 

And sweating in his service, his caprice 

13ecomes the soul that animates them all. 

He deems a thousand or ten thousand lives. 

Spent in the purchase of renown for him.. 

An easy reckoning ; and they think the same. 

Thus kings were first invented, and thus kings 

Were burnish 'd into heroes, and became 

The arbiters of this terraqueous swamp ; 

Storks among frogs that have but croak'd and died. 

Strange, that such folly as lifts bloated maa 

To eminence fit only for a god, 



BOOK V. THE WINTER MORNING WALK, 157 

Should ever drivel out of human lips, 
Even in the cradled weakness of the world ! 
Still stranger much, that, when at length mankind 
Had reach'd the sinewy firmness of their youth, 
And could discriminate and argue well 
On subjects more mysterious, they were yet 
Babes in the cause of freedom, and should fear 
And quake before the gods themselves had made 5 
But above measure strange, that neither proof 
Of sad experience, nor examples set 
By some, whose patriot virtue has prevailed, 
Can, even now, when they are grown mature 
In wisdom, and with philosophic deeps 
Familiar, serve t' emancipate the rest ! 
Such dupes are men to custom, and so prone 
To reverence what is ancient, and can plead 
A course of long observance for its use, 
That even servitude, the worst of ills. 
Because delivered down from sire to son, 
is kept and guarded as a sacred thing ! 
But is it fit, or can it bear the shock 
Of rational discussion, that a man, 
Compounded and made up like other men, 
Of elements tumultuous, in whom lust 
And folly in as ample measure meet 
As in the bosoms of the slaves he rules, 
Should be a despot absolute, and boast 
Himself the only freeman of his land ? 
Should, when he pleases, and on whom he will, 
Wage war, with any or with no pretence 
M 2 



1S8 THE TASK. 



BOOK y^ 



Of provocation given, or wrong sustain'd. 

And force the beggarly last doit, by means 

That his own humour dictates, from the clutch 

Of poverty, that thus he may procure 

His thousands, weary of penurious hfe, 

A splendid opportunity to die i 

^ay ye, (who with less prudence than of old 

Jotham ascribed to his assembled trees 

In politic convention) put your trust 

I' th* shadow of a bramble, and, reclin'd 

In fancied peace beneath his dangerous branch. 

Rejoice in hinn ^^^ celebrate his sway. 

Where find ye passive fortitude i Whence springs 

Your self-^enying zeal, that holds it good 

To stroke the prickly grievance, and to hang 

His thorns with streamers of continual praise ? 

We, too, are friends to loyalty. We love 

The king who loves the law,, respects his bounds^ 

And reigns content within them : him we serve 

Freely and with delight, who leaves us free : 

But, recollecting still that he is man. 

We trust him not too far. King though he be, 

And king in England too, he may be weak, 

And vain enough to be ambitious still ; 

May exercise amiss his proper powers. 

Or covet more than freemen choose to grant ; 

Beyond that mark is treason. He is ours 

T* administer, to guard, t' adorn, the state. 

But not to wai*p or change it. We are his, 

To. serve binx nobly in the common cause^ 



BOOK V. THE WINTER MORNING WALK. 1S9 

True to the death, but not to be his slaves. 
Mark now the difference, ye that boast your lore 
Of kings, between your loyalty and ours. 
We love the man ; the paltry pageant you. 
We the chief patron of the commonwealth ; 
You the regardless author of its woes. 
We, for the sake of liberty, a king ; 
You, chains and bondage, for a tyrant's sake ; 
Our love is principle, and has its root 
In reason, is judicious, manly, free ; 
Yours, a blind instinct, crouches to the rod, 
And licks the foot that treads it in the dust* 
Were kingship as true treasure as it seems, 
Sterhng, and worthy of a wise man's wish, 
I would not be a king to be belov'd 
Causeless, and daub'd with undiscerning praise. 
Where love is mere attachment to the throne, 
Not to the man who fills it as he ought. 

Whose freedom is by sufferance, and at will 
Of a superior, he is never free. 
Who lives, and is not weary of a life 
Expos'd to manacles, deserves them well. 
The state that strives for liberty, though foiPd, 
And forc'd t' abandon what she bravely sought. 
Deserves at least applause for her attempt. 
And pity for her loss. But that's a cause 
Net often unsuccessful : power usurp 'd 
Is weakness when oppos'd ; conscious of wrong, 
'Tis pusillanimous and prone to flight. 
But slaves,, that once conceive the glowing thought 



140 THE TASK. 



BOOK V. 



Of freedom, in that hope itself possess 
All that the contest calls for ; spirit, strength, 
The scorn of danger, and united hearts ; 
The surest presage of the good they seek.* 

Then shame to manhood, and opprobrious more 
To France than all her losses and defeats, 
Old or of later date, by sea or land. 
Her house of bondage, worse than that of old 
Which God aveng'd on Pharaoh — the Bastile ! 
Ye horrid towers, th' abode of broken hearts ; 
Ye dungeons and ye cages of despair. 
That monarchs have supplied from age to age 
With music such as suits their sovereign ears — 
The sighs and groans of miserable men ; 
There's not an English heart that would not leap 
To hear that ye were fall'n at last ; to know 
That even our enemies, so oft employed 
In forging chains for us, themselves were free. 
Tor he who values liberty confines 
His zeal for her predominance within 
No narrow bounds ; her cause engages him 
Wherever pleaded. ^Tis the cause of man. 
There dwell the most forlorn of human kind ; 
ImmurM though unaccused, condemned untried. 
Cruelly spar'd> and hopeless of escape ! 



* The Author hopes that he shall not be censured for un- 
necessary warmth upon so interesting a subject. He is aware 
that it is become almost fashionable to stigmatize such senti- 
roents as no better than empty declamation ; but it is an ill 
syropcom, and peculiar to modern times. 



BOOK V. THE WINTER MORNING WALK. 141 

There, like the visionary emblem seeil 
By him of Babylon, life stands a stump, 
And, filleted about with hoops of brass, 
Still lives, though all its pleasant boughs are gone. 
To count the hour-bell and expect no change ; 
And ever, as the sullen sound is heard, 
Still to refle6l, that, though a joyless note 
To him whose moments all have one dull pace, 
Ten thousand rovers in the world at large 
Account it music ; that it summons some 
To theatre, or jocund feast or ball : 
The wearied hireling finds it a release 
From labour ; and the lover, who has chid 
Its long delay, feels every welcome stroke 
Upon his heart-strings, trembling with delight- 
To fly for refuge from distracting thought 
To such amusements as ingenious woe 
Contrives, hard-shifting, and without her tools— 
To read engraven on the mouldy walls, 
In staggering types, his predecessor's tale, 
A sad memorial, and subjoin his own- 
To turn purveyor to an overgorg'd 
And bloated spider, till the pamper'd pest 
Is made familiar, watches his approach. 
Comes at his call, and serves him for a friend-— 
To wear out time in numbering to and fro 
The studs that thick emboss his iron door ; 
Then downward and then upward, then aslant. 
And then alternate ; with a sickly hope 
By dint of change to give his tasteless task 



14^2 THE TASK. 



BOOK V. 



Some relish ; till the sum exactly found 

In all directions, he begins again — 

Oh comfortless existence i heram'd around 

With woes, which who that suffers would not kneel 

And beg for exile or the pangs of death ? 

That man should thus encroach on fellow man. 

Abridge him of his just and native rights. 

Eradicate him, tear him from his hold 

Upon th' endearments of domestic life 

And social, nip his fruitfulness and use, 

And doom him for perhaps a heedless word 

To barrenness, and solitude, and tears, 

Moves indignation ; makes the name of king 

(Of king whom such prerogative can please) 

As dreadful as the Manichean god, 

Ador'd through fear, strong only to destroy. 

'Tis liberty alone that gives the flower 
Of fleeting life its lustre and perfume ; 
And we are weeds without it. All constraint, 
Except what wisdom lays on evil men, 
Is evil ; hurts the faculties, impedes 
Their progress in the road of science ; blinds 
The eyesight of discovery ; and begets. 
In those that suffer it, a sordid mind 
Bestial, a meagre intellect, unfit 
To be the tenant of man's noble form. 
Thee therefore still, blameworthy as thou art. 
With all thy loss of empire, and though squeezed 
By public exigence till annual food 
Fails for the craving hunger of the state. 



BOOK V. THB WINTER MORNING WALK. i4S 

Thee I account still happy, and the chief 

Among the nations, seeing tkou art free : 

My native nook of earth ! Thy clime is rude. 

Replete with vapours, and disposes much 

All hearts to sadness, and none more than mine ; 

Thine unadulterate manners are less soft 

And plausible than social life requires, 

And thou hast need of discipline and art 

To give the what politer France receives 

From Nature's bounty — that humane address 

And sweetness, without which no pleasure is 

In converse, either starv'd by cold reserve. 

Or flush'd with fierce dispute, a senseless brawl : 

Yet, being free, I love thee : for the sake 

Of that one feature can be well content, 

Disgraced as thou hast been, poor as thou art, 

To seek no sublunary rest beside. 

But once enslav'd. fai'ewel ! I x:ould endure 

Chains no where patiently ; and chains at home, 

Where I am free by birthright, not at all. 

Then what were left of roughness in the grain 

Of British natures, wanting its excuse 

That it belongs to freemen, would disgust 

And shock me. I should then, with double pain. 

Feel all the rigour of thy fickle clime ; 

And, if I must bewail the blessing lost. 

For which our Hampdens and our Sidneys bled, 

I would at least bewail it under skies 

Milder, among a people less austere ; 

In scenes, which, having never known me free. 



144? THE TASK. BOOK V. 

Would not reproach me with the loss I felt. 

Do I forebode impossible events, 

And tremble at vain dreams ? Heaven grant I may ! 

But th* age of virtuous politics is past, 

And we are deep in that of cold pretence. 

Patriots are grown too shrewd to be sincere, 

And we too wise to trust them. He that takes 

Deep in his soft creduhty the stamp 

Design'd by loud declaimers on the part 

Of liberty, themselves the slaves of lust. 

Incurs derision for his easy faith 

And lack of knowledge, and with cause enough : 

For when was public virtue to be found 

Where private was not ? Can he love the whole 

Who loves no part ? He be a nation's friend, 

Who is, in truth, the friend of no man there ? 

Can he be strenuous in his country's cause 

Who slights the charities, for whose dear sake 

That country, if at all, must be belov'd ? 

'Tis therefore sober and good men are sad 
For England's glory, seeing it wax pale 
And sickly, while her champions wear their hearts 
So loose to private duty, that no brain, 
Healthful and undisturb'd by factious fumes. 
Can dream them trusty to the general weal. 
Such v;ere they not of old, whose temper'd blades 
Dispersed the shackles of usurp'd control, 
And hew'd them hnkfrom link : then Albion's sons 
Were sons indeed ; they felt a filial heart 
Beat high within them at a mother's wrongs ; 



BOOK V. THE WINTER MORNISG WALK. 145 

And, shining each in his domestic sphere. 
Shone brighter still, once call'd to public view. 
'Tis therefore many, whose seqester'd lot 
Forbids their interference, looking on, 
Anticipate perforce some dire event ^ 
And, seeing the old castle of the state. 
That promised once more firmness, so assail'd. 
That all its tempest-^beaten turrets shake, 
•Stand motionless expectants of its falh 
All has its date below ; the fatal hour 
Was registered in heaven ere time began. 
We turn to dost, and all our mightiest worki 
Die too : the deep foundations that we lay, 
Time ploughs them up, and not a trace remains. 
We build with what we deem eternal rock : 
A distant age asks where the fabric stood ; 
And in the dust, sifted and searchM in vain> 
The undiscoverable secret sleeps. 

But there is yet a liberty, unsungl 
By poets, and by senators unprais'd. 
Which monarchs cannot grant, nor all the powers 
Of earth and hell confederate take away : 
A hberty, which persecution, fraud, 
Oppression, prisons, have no power to bind ; 
Which whoso tastes can be enslaved no more. 
'Tis liberty of heart deriv'd from heaven ; 
Bought with HIS blood who gave it to mankind. 
And seaPd with the same token ! It is held 
By charter, and that charier sanction'd sure 
By th' unimpeachable and awful oath 
And promise of a God ! His other gifts - '- inii;nl") 
VOL. ir, N ■''- -^ -nn coqr 



146 



THE TASK. BOOK V. 



All bear the royal stamp that speaks them his, 
And are august ; but this transcends them all. 
His other works, the visible display 
Of all-creating energy and might, 
Are grand, no doubt, and worthy of the word. 
That, finding an interminable space 
Unoccupied, has filPd the void so well. 
And made so sparkling what was dark before* 
But these are not his glory. Man, 'tis true, 
Smit with the beauty of so fair a scene. 
Might well suppose th' artificer divine 
Meant it eternal, had he not himself 
Pronounced it transient, glorious as it is, 
And, still designing a more glorious far, 
Doom'd it as insufficient for his praise. 
These, therefore, are occasional, and pass ; 
Form*d for the confutation of the fool. 
Whose lying heart disputes against a God ; 
That office serv'd, they must be swept away. 
Not so the labours of his love : they shine 
In other heavens than these that we behold. 
And fade not. There is paradise that fears 
No forfeiture, and of its fruits he sends 
Large prelibation oft to saints below. 
Of these the first in order, and the pledge 
And confident assurance of the rest, 
Is liberty : — a flight into his arms 
Ere yet mortahty's fine threads give way, 
A clear escape from tyrannizing lust, 
And full immunity from penal woe. 

Chains are the portion of revolted man, 
Stripes and a dungeon j and his body serves 



BOOK V. THE WINTER MORNING WALK. Ht 

The triple purpose. In that sickly, foul. 

Opprobrious residence, he finds them all. 

Propense his heart to idols, he is held 

In silly dotage on created things, 

Careless of their Creator. And that low 

And sordid gravitation of his powers 

To a vile clod so draws him, with such force 

Resistless from the centre he should seek, 

That he at last forgets it. All his hopes 

Tend downward ; his ambition is to sink, 

To reach a depth profounder still, and still 

Profounder, in the fathomless abyss 

Of folly, plunging in pursuit of death. 

But, ere he gain the comfortless repose 

He seeks, and acquiescence of his soul, 

In heaven-renouncing exile, he endures— 

What does he not ? from lusts oppos'd in vain, 

And self-reproaching conscience ? He foresees 

The fatal issue to his health, fame, peace. 

Fortune and dignity ; the loss of all 

Tliat can ennoble man, and make frail life, 

Short as it is, supportable* Still worse, 

Far worse than all the plagues with which his sins 

Infect his happiest moments, he forebodes 

Ages of hopeless misery. Future death, 

And death still future. Not a hasty stroke, 

Like that which sends him to the dusty grave ; 

But unrepealable enduring death ! 

Scripture is still a trumpet to his fears : 

What none can prove a forgery, may be true ; 

What none but bad men wish exploded, rausl. 



J4S THE TASK, 



BOOK T. 



That scruple checks him. Riot is not loud, 

Nor drunk enough to drown it. In the midst 

Of laughter his compunctions are sincere ; 

And he abhors the jest by which he shines. 

Remorse begets reform. His master4ust 

I-'alls first before his resolute rebuke, 

And seems dethron'd and vanquish'd. Peace ensuew 

But spurious and short4iv'd ; the puny child 

Of self-congratulating pride, begot 

On fancied innocence. Again he falls. 

And fights again ; but finds his best essay 

A presage ominous, portending still 

Its own dishonour by a worse relapse. 

Till nature, unavailing nature, foiPd 

So oft, and wearied in the vain attempt^ 

Scoffs at her own performance. Reason now 

Takes part with appetite, and pleads the cause> 

Perversely, which of late she so condemn'd ; 

With shallow shifts and old devices, worn 

And tatter'din the service of debauch, 

Covering his shame from bis offended sight. 

** Hath God indeed given appetites to man, 
*• And stor'd the earth so plenteously with means 
*< To gratify the hunger of his wish ; 
** And doth he reprobate, and will he damn 
** The use of his own bounty ? making first 
•* So frail a kind, and then enacting laws 
** So strict, that less than perfect must despair ? 
<* Falsehood \ which whoso but suspects of trutk 
<« Dishonours Cod, and makes a slave of man. 



BOOK ▼. THE WINTER MORNING WALK. 14?^ 

"Do they themselves, who undertake for hire 

" The teacher's office, and dispense at large 

«* Their weekly dole of edifying strains, 

« Attend to their own music ? have they faith 

« In what with such solemnity of tone 

" And gesture they propound to our belief ? 

" Nay — conduct hath the loudest tongue. The voice 

" Is but an instrument, on which the priest 

"May play what tune he pleases. In the deed, 

" The unequivocal authentic deed, 

<^ We find sound argument, we read the heart.'^ 

Such reasonings (if that name must need belong 
T' excuses in which reason has no part) 
Serve to compose a spirit well inclin'd 
To live on terms of amity with vice. 
And sin without disturbance. Often urg'd, 
f As often as libidinous discourse 
Exhausted, he resorts to solemn themes 
Of theological and grave import ) 
They gain at last his unreserved assent ; 
Till, harden'd his heart's temper in the forge 
Of lust, and on the anvil of despair. 
He slights the strokes of conscience. Nothing moves. 
Or nothing much, his constancy in ill ; 
Vain tampering has but foster'd his disease ; 
'Tis desperate, and he sleeps the sleep of death ! 
Haste, now, philosopher, and set him free. 
Charm the deaf serpent wisely. Make him hear 
Of rectitude and fitness, moral truth, 
How lovely, and the moral sense how sure. 
Consulted, and obey'd, to guide his eteps 
n2 



150 THfc TASK. BOOKt. 

Directly to the first and only fair. 

Spare not in such a cause. Spend all the powers 

Of rant and rhapsody in virtue's praise : 

Be most sublimely good, verbosely grand, 

And with poetic trappings grace thy prose, 

Till it out-mantle all the pride of verse. — 

Ah, tinkhng cymbal, and high sounding brasv 

Smitten in vain ! such music cannot charm 

Th' echpse that intercepts truth's heavenly beam. 

And chills and darkens a wide-wandering soul. 

The STILL SMALL VOICE is Wanted. He must speak? 

Whose word leaps forth at once to its effect ; 

Who calls for things that are not, and they come. 

Grace makes the slave a freeman. ^Tis a change 
That turns to ridicule the turgid speech 
And stately tone of morahsts, who boast. 
As if, like him of fabulous renown, 
They had indeed ability to smooth 
The shag of savage nature, and were each 
An Orpheus, and omnipotent in song ; 
But transformation of apostate man 
From fool to wise, from earthly to divine. 
Is work for him that made him. He alone. 
And he by means in philosophic eyes 
Trivial and worthy of disdain, achieves 
The wonder, humanizing what is brute 
In the lost kind, extracting from the lips 
Of asps their venom, overpowering strength 
By weakness, and hostility by love. 

Patriots have loil'd, and in their country's cau3« 
Bled nobly ; and their deeds, as they deserve, 



BOOK V, THE WINTER MORNING WALK. 1^1 

Receive proud recompense. We give in charge 

Their names to the sweet lyre. Th' historic muse^ 

Proud of the treasure, marches with it down 

To latest times ; and sculpture, in her turn, 

Gives bond in stone and ever-during brass 

To guard them, and t' immortalize her trust : 

But fairer wreaths are due, though never paid. 

To those; who, posted at the shrine of truth, 

Have fallen in her defence. A patriot's bloody 

Well spent in such a strife, may earn indeed. 

And for a time ensure, to his lov'd land 

Ths sweets of liberty and equal laws ; 

But martyrs struggle for a brighter prize. 

And win it with more pain. Their blood is shed 

In confirmation of the noblest claim^- 

Our claim to feed upon immortal truth, 

To walk with God, to be divinely free. 

To soar and to anticipate the skies ! 

Yet few remember them. They liv'd unknown 

Till persecution dragg*d them into fame. 

And chas'd them up to heaven. Their ashes flew 

— No marble tells us whither. With their names 

No bard embalms and sanctifies his song I 

And history, so warm on meaner themes. 

Is cold on this. She execrates indeed 

The tyranny that doom'd them to the fire, 

But gives the glorious sufferers little praise,* 

He is the freeman whom the *ruth makes frec^ 
And all are slav<;3 beside. Ti.ere's not a chain 

♦ ^ee Hume. 



1^2 THE TASK, BOOK ▼. 

That hellish foes, confederate for his harm, 
Can wind around him, but he casts it oflF 
With as much ease as Sampson his green wyths. 
He looks abroad into the varied field 
Of nature, and though poor perhaps comparM 
With those whose mansions glitter in his sight y 
Call the dehghtful scenery all his own. 
His are the mountains, and the vallies hisy 
And the resplendent rivers. His t' enjoy 
With a propriety that none can feel. 
But who, with filial confidence inspir'd, 
Can lift to heaven on unpresumptuous eye, 
And smihng say — " My Father made them all 1'^ 
Are they not his b y a pecuhar right, 
And by an emphasis of interest his, 
Whose eye they fill with tears of holy joy, 
Whose heart with praise, and whose exalted mind 
With worthy thoughts of that unwearied love 
That plann'd, and built, and still upholds, a world- 
So cloth 'd with beauty for rebellious man I 
Yes — ye may fill your garners, ye that reap 
The loaded soil, and ye may v/aste much good 
In senseless riot ; but ye will not find. 
In feast or in the chase, in song or dance,. 
A liberty like his, who, unimpeach' d 
Of usurpation, and to no man's wrong, 
Appropriates nature as his Father's work,. 
And has a richer use of yours than you. 
He is indeed a freeman. Free by birth 
Of no mean city ; planned or ere the hills 
Were built, the fountains open'd, or the sea. 



BOOK V. TFTE WINTER MORNING WALK. l5St 

With all its roaring multitude of waves. 

His freedom is the same in every state f 

And no condition of this changeful life^ 

So manifold in cares, whose every day 

firings its own evil with it, makes it less : 

For he has wings, that neither sickness, pain,. 

Nor penury, can cripple or confine* 

No nook so narrow but he spreads them there 

With ease, and is at large, Th' oppressor hold* 

His body bound ; but knows not what a range 

His spirit takes, unconscious of a chain ; 

And that to bind him is a vain attempt 

Whom God delights ia, aad in whom he dwells. 

Acquaint thyself with God, if thou would^st taste- 
His works. Admitted once to his embrace, 
Thou shalt perceive that thou vs^ast blind before : 
Thine eye shall be instructed ; and thine heart, 
Made pure, shall relish, with divine dehght 
Till then unfelt, what hands divine have wrought^ 
Brutes graze the niountain-top, with faces prone 
And eyes intent upon the scanty herb 
It yields them ; or, recumbent on its brow^ 
Ruminate heedless of the scene outspread 
Beneath, beyond, and stretching far away 
From inland regions to the distant main, 
Man views it, and admires ; but rests content 
With what he views. The landscape has his praise. 
But not its Author. Unconcern'd who form'd 
The paradise he sees, he finds it such, 
And such well pleas'd to find it, asks no more. 
Not so the mind that has been touch*d from heaven, 



154? THE TASK. BOOK V. 

And in the school of sacred wisdom taught 

To read his wonders, in whose thought the world. 

Fair as it is, existed ere it was. 

Not for its own sake merely, but for his 

Much more who fashion'd it, he gives it praise ; 

Praise that from earth resulting, as it ought, 

To earth's acknowledged Sovereign, finds at once 

Its only just proprietor in him. 

The soul that sees him, or receives sublimM, 

New faculties, or learns at least t' employ 

More worthily the powers she own'd before. 

Discerns in all things, what, with stupid gaze 

Of ignorance, till then she overlook'd — 

A ray of heavenly light, gilding all forms 

Terrestrial in the vast and the minute ; 

The unambiguous footsteps of the God 

Who gives its lustre to an insect's wing, 

And wheels his throne upon the rolling worlds. 

Much conversant with heaven, she often hold* 

With those fair ministers of light to man, 

Tliat fill the skies nightly with silent pomp, 

Sweet conference. Inquires what strains w«re they 

With which heaven rang, when every star, in haste 

To gratulate the new created earth, 

Sent forth a voice, and all the sons of God 

Shouted for joy. — " Tell me, ye shining hosts, 

" That navigate a sea that knows no storms, 

*' Beneath a vault unsuUied with a cloud, 

*^ If from your elevation, whence ye view 

<* Distinctly scenes invisible to man, 

" And systems of whose birth no tidings yet 

♦* Have reach'd this nether world, ye spy a race 



BOOK V. THE WINTER MORNING WALK. 155 

*< Favoured as ours ; transgressors from the womb, 

*' And hasting to a grave, yet doom'd to rise, 

" And to possess a brighter heaven than yours ? 

"As one, who, long detained on foreign shores 

<* Pants to return, and when he sees afar 

** His country's weather-bleach *d and batter'd rocks, 

" From the green wave emerging, darts an eye 

" Radiant with joy toward the happy land ; 

" So I with animated hopes behold, 

" And many an aching wish, your beamy fires, 

** That show like beacons in the blue abyss, 

** Ordain*d to guide th' embodied spirit home, 

" From toilsome life to never-ending rest. 

" Love kindles as I gaze. I feel desires 

** That give assurance of their own success, 

^* And that, infus'd from heaven, must thither tend," 

So reads he nature whom the lamp of truth 
Illuminates. Thy lamp, mysterious word j 
Which whoso sees no longer wanders lost, 
With intellects bemaz'd in endless doubt. 
But runs the road of wisdom. Thou hast built, 
With means that were not, till by thee employed. 
Worlds that had never been hadst thou in strength 
Been less, or less benevolent than strong. 
They are thy witnesses, who speak thy power 
And goodness infinite, but speak in ears 
That hear not, or receive not their report. 
In vain thy creatures testify of thee 
Till thou proclaim thyself. Theirs is indeed 
A teaching voice ; but 'tis the praise of thine. 
That whom it teaches it makes prompt to learn. 



156 THE TASK. BOOKV. 

And with the toon gives talents for its use^ 

Till thou art heard, imaginations vain 

Possess the heart, and fables false as hell { 

Yet deem'd oracular, lure down to death 

The uninform'd and heedless souls of men. 

We give to chance, blind chance, ourselves as blind^ 

The glory of thy work ^ which yet appears 

Perfect and unimpeachable of blame, 

Challenging human scrutiny, and prov'd 

Then skilful most when most severely judg'd. 

But chance is not ; or is not where thou reign'st : 

Thy providence forbids that fickle power 

(If power she be that works but to confound) 

To mix her wild vagaries with thy laws. 

Yet thus wie dote, refusing while w^e can 

Instruction, and inventing to ourselves 

Gods such as guilt makes welcome ; gods that sleep 

Or disregard our follies, or that sit 

Amus'd spectators of this bustling stage. 

Thee we reject, unable to abide 

Thy purity, till pure as thou art pure ; 

Made such by thee, we love thee for that cause 

For which we shunn'd and hated thee before. 

Then we are free. Then liberty, like day. 

Breaks on the soul, and by a flash from heaven 

Fires all tTie faculties with glorious joy. 

A voice is heard that mortal ears hear not 

Till thou hast touch'd them ; 'tis the voice of song— 

A loud hosanna sent from all thy w-orks ; 

Which he that hears it wath a shout repeats, 

And adds his rapture to the general praise. 



BOOK V. TH-E WINTER MORNING Wx\LK. 15? 

In that blest moment, Nature, throwing wide 
Her veil opaque, discloses with a smile 
The Author of her beauties, who, retir'd 
Behind his own creation, works unseen 
By the impure, and hears his power denied. 
Thou art the source and centre of all minds. 
Their only point of rest, eternal Word ! 
From thee departing, they are lost, and rove 
At random, without honour, hope, or peace. 
From thee is all that sooths the life of man, 
His high endeavor and his glad success. 
His strength to suffer, and his will to serve. 
But oh, thou bounteous Giver of all good, 
Thou art of all thy gifts thyself the crown 1 
Give what thou canst, without thee we are poor ; 
And with thee rich, take what thou wilt away. 



VOL. !!• 



ARGUMENT OF THE SIXTH BOOK. 

Balls at a distance. — Their effect, -^ ji Jlne noon in ^winter* 
— j4 sheltered nvalh — Meditation better than books, — 
Cur familiarity *with the course of nature makes it appear 
iess nvonderful than it is* — The transformation that 
spring efftcts in a shrubbery described,^^A mistake con^ 
<erning the course of nature corrected,'^^God maintains it 
ly an unremitted act, — The amusements fashionable at 
this hour of the day reproved, — Animals happy^ a de* 
light ful sight, — Origin of cruelty to animals, — That it 
is a great crime proved from scripture.'^That proof il* 
lustratedby a tale, — A line drawn between the lawful 
and unlawful destruction of them.-^^Their good and use» 
Jul properties insisted on,— -Apology for the encomiums he^ 
stowed by the author on animals. — Instances of man* s ex^ 
travagant praise of man, — The groans of the creation 
shall have an end, — A view taken of the restoration of 
<dl things — An invocation and an invitation of him who 
4hall bring it to pass, — The retired man vindicated from 
the charge of uselessnessi— Conclusion. 



THE TASK. 



£06K r/» 



THE WINTER WALK AT NOON. 



% 



HERE IS in souls a sympathy with sounds) 
And as the mind is pitch'd, the ear is pleas'd 
With melting airs, or martial, brisk, or grave ; 
Some chord in unison with what we hear 
Is touch'd within us, and the heart repHes, 
How soft the music of those village bells, 
Falling at intervals upon the ear 
In cadence sweet, now dying all away. 
Now pealing loud again, and louder still, 
Clear and sonorous, as the gale comes on ! 
With easy force it opens all the cells 
Where memory slept. Wherever I have heard 
A kindred melody the scene recurs, 
And with it all its pleasures and its pains. 
Such comprehensive views the spirit takes. 
That in a few short moments I retrace 
(As in a map the voyager his course) 



^^ THE TASK. BOOK IT. 

The windings of my way through many years. 

Short as in retrospect the journey seems, 

It seem'd not always short ; the rugged path, 

And prospect oft so dreary and forlorn, 

Mov'd many a sigh at its disheartening length. 

Yet, feeling present evils, while the past 

Taintly impress the mind, or not at all, 

How readily we wish time spent revokM, 

That we might try the ground again, where once 

(Through inexperience, as we now perceive) 

We missM that happiness we might have found ! 

Some friend is gone, perhaps his son's best friend \ 

A father, whose authority in show 

When most severe, and mustering all its force, 

Was but the graver countenance of love ; 

Whose favour, like the clouds of spring, might lower, 

And utter now and then an awful voice,^ 

But had a blessing in its> darkest frown. 

Threatening at once and nourishing the plant. 

We lov'd, but not enough, the gentle hand 

That rear'd us. At a thoughtless age, allur'd 

By every gilded folly, we renounc'd 

His sheltering side, and wilfully forewent 

That converse which we now in vain regret ! 

How gladly would the man recal to life 

The boy's neglected sire ! a mother, too. 

That softer friend, perhaps more gladly still, 

Might he demand t^em at the gates of death. 

Sorrow has, since they went, subdu'd and tam'd 

The playful humour i he could now endure,. 

(Himself grown sober in the vaV of tears }^ 



BOOK VI. THE WINTER WALK AT NOON, 161 

And feel a parent's presence no restraint* 

But not to understand a treasure's worth 

Till time has stolen away the slighted good. 

Is cause of half the poverty we feel, 

And makes the world the wilderness it is. 

The few that pray at all pray oft amiss, 

And, seeking grace t* improve the prize they hold, 

Would urge a wiser suit than asking more. 

The night was winter in his roughest m.ood ; 
The morning sharp and clear. But now at noon 
Upon the southern side of the slant hills. 
And where the woods fence off the northern blast, 
The season smiles, resigning all its rage, 
And has the warmth of May. The vault is blue 
Without a cloud, and white without a speck 
The dazzhng splendour of the scene below. 
Again the harmony comes o'er the vale ; 
And through the trees I view th' embattled tower 
Whence all the music. I again perceive 
The soothing influence of the wafted strains, 
And settle in soft musings as I tread 
The walk, still verdant, under oaks and elms, 
Whose outspread branches overarch the glade. 
The roDf, though moveable through all its length 
As the wind sways it, has yet well sufSc'd, 
And, intercepting in their silent fall 
The fre quent flakes, has kept a path for me. 
No noise is here, or none that hinders thought. 
The red-breast warbles still, but is content 
With slender notes, and more than half suppressed ; 
Pleas'd with his solitude, and flitting light 
o 2 



162 THE TASK. BOOK IV. 

From spray to spray, where'er he rests he shakes 

From many a twig the pendent drops of ice, 

That tinkle in the withered leaves below. 

Stillness, accompanied with sounds so soft, 

Charms more than silence. Meditation here 

May think down hours to moments. Here the heart 

May give an useful lesson to the head. 

And learning wiser grow without his books. 

Knowledge and wisdom, far from being one. 

Have oft-times no connexion. Knowledge dwells 

In heads replete with thoughts of other men; 

Wisdom in minds attentive to their own. 

Knowledge, a rude unprofitable mass. 

The mere materials with which wisdom builds. 

Till smoothed and squared and fitted to its place, 

Does but encumber whom it seems t' enrich. 

Knowledge is proud that he has learn'd so much ; 

Wisdom is humble that he knows no more. 

Books are not seldom talismans and spells. 

By whi ch the magic art of shrewder wits 

Holds an unthinking multitude cnthrall'd. 

Some to the fascination of a name 

Surrender judgment hood-wink'd. Some the style 

Infatuates, and through labyrinths and wilds 

Of error leads them by a tune entranced. 

While sloth seduces more, too weak to bear 

The insupportable fatigue of thought, 

And swallowing, therefore, without pause or choice. 

The total grist unsifted, husks and all. 

But trees, and rivulets whose rapid course 

Defies the check of winter, haunts of deer, 



BOOK YI. THE WINTER WALK AT NOON, 163 

And sheep-walks populous with bleating kmbs. 

And lanes in which the primrose ere her time 

Peeps through the moss that clothes the hawthora 

root. 
Deceive no student. Wisdom there, and truth. 
Not shy, as in the world, and to be woa 
By slow solicitation, seize at once 
The roving thought, and fix it on themselves. 

What prodigies can power divine perforni 
More grand than it produces year by year. 
And all in sight of inattentive man ? 
Familiar with th' effect we slight the cause. 
And, in the constancy of nature's course. 
The regular return of genial months. 
And renovation of a faded world, 
See naught to wonder at. Should God again. 
As once in Gibeon, interrupt the race 
Of the undeviating and punctual sun. 
How would the world admire ! but speaks it less 
An agency divine, to make him know 
His moment when to sink and when to rise, 
Age after age, than to arrest his course i 
All we behold is miracle ; but, seen 
So duly, all is miracle in vain. 
Where now the vital energy that mov'd. 
While summer was, the pure and subtile lymph 
Through th* imperceptible meandering veins 
Of leaf and flower ? It sleeps ; and th' icy touch 
Of unprolific winter has impress'd 
A cold stagnation on th' intestine tide. 
But let the months go round, a few short months^ 



164 THE TASK, 



BOOK VI 



And all shall be restored. These nakei shoots, 

Barren as lances, among which the wind 

Makes wintry music, sighing as it goes. 

Shall put their graceful foliage on again, 

And, more aspiring, and with ampler spread. 

Shall boast new charms, and more than they have lost. 

Then each in its peculiar honours clad, 

Shall publish, even to the distant eye. 

Its family and tribe. Labernum, rich 

In streaming gold ; syringa, ivory pure ; 

The scentless and the scented rose ; this red. 

And of a humbler growth, the other* tall, 

And throwing up into the darkest gloom 

Of neighboring cypress, or more sable yew, 

Her silver globes, light as the foamy surf 

That the wind severs from the broken v^^ave ; 

The lilac, various in array, now white, 

Now sanguine, and her beauteous head now set 

With purple spikes pyramidal, as if, 

Studious of ornament, yet unresolv'd 

Which hue she most approved, she chose them all ; 

Copious of flowers, the woodbine pale and wan. 

But well compensating her sickly looks 

With never-cloying odours, early and late ; 

Hypericum, all bloom, so thick a swarm 

Of flowers, like flies clothing her slender rods, 

That scarce a leaf appears ; mezerion, too. 

Though leafless, well attir'd, and thick beset 

With blushing wreaths, investing every spray j 



* The Gneld«r-rosc 



B0«K VI. THE WINTER WALK AT NOON. 16* 

Althaea with the purple eye ; the broom,. 

Yellow and bright, as bullion unalloy'd, 

Her blossoms ; and, luxuriant above all. 

The jasmine, throwing wide her elegant sweets,. 

The deep dark green of w^hose unvarnish'd leaf 

Makes more conspicuous, and illumines more 

The bright profusion of her scatter'd stars. 

These have been, and these shall be in their day ;. 

And all this uniform, uncolour'd scene, 

Shall be dismantled of its fleecy load, 

And flush into variety again. 

From dearth to plenty, and from death to life^ 

Is Nature's progress, when she lectures man 

In heavenly truth ; evincing, as she makes 

The grand transition, that there lives and works 

A soul in all things, and that soul is God, 

The beauties of the wilderness are his, 

That make so gay the solitary place 

Where no eye sees them. And the fairer forms 

That cultivation glories in are his, 

He sets the bright procession on its way, 

And marshals all the order of the year ; 

He marks the bounds which winter may not pass^ 

And blunts his pointed fury ; in its^ case. 

Russet and rude, folds up the tender germ, 

Uninjur'd, with inimitable art ; 

And, ere one flowery season fades and dies. 

Designs the blooming wonders of the next. 

Some say, that, in the origin of things^ 
When all creation started into birth. 
The infant elements received a law. 



166 THE TASK, BOOKVt, 

From which they swerve not since. That under force 

Of that controUing ordinance they move, 

And need not his immediate hand, who first 

Prescrib'd their course, to regulate it now. 

Thus dream they, and contrive to save a Grod 

Th' incumbrance of his own concerns, and spare 

The great artificer of all that moves 

The stress of a continual act, the paia 

Of unremitted vigilance and care. 

As too laborious and severe a task. 

So man, the moth, is not afraid, it seems. 

To span omnipotence, and measure might , 

That knows no measure, by the scanty rule 

And standard of his own, that is to day. 

And is not ere to-morrow's sun go down t 

But how should matter occupy a charge, 

Dull as it is, and satisfy a law 

So vast in its demands, unless impell'd 

To ceaseless service by a ceaseless force. 

And under pressure of some conscious cause ? 

The Lord of all, himself thro ugh all diflfus'd, 

Sustains, and is the life of all that lives. 

Nature is but a name for an effect, 

Whose cause is God. He feeds the secret fire 

By which the mighty process is maintained. 

Who sleeps not, is not weary ; in whose sight 

Slow-circling ages are as transient days ; 

Whose work is without labour ; whose designs 

No flaw deforms, no difiiculty thwarts ; 

And whose beneficence no charge exhausts. 

Him blind antiquity profan'd, not serv'd, 



BOOK VI. THE WINTER WALK AT NOON. 1^7 

With self-taught rites, and under various names. 

Female and male, Pomona, Pales, Pan, 

And Flora, and Vertumnus ; peopHng earth 

With tutelary goddesses and gods 

That were not ; and commending, as they would, 

To each some province, garden, field or grove. 

But all are under one. One spirit — his 

Who wore the platted thorns with bleeding brows — 

Rules universal nature. Not a flower 

But shows some touch, in freckle, streak, or stain. 

Of his unrivalPd pencil. He inspires 

Their balmy odours, and imparts their hues. 

And bathes their eyes with nectar, and includes. 

In grains as countless as the seaside sands. 

The forms with which he sprinkles all the earth. 

Happy who walks with him ! whom what he finds 

Of flavour or of scent in fruit or flower. 

Or what he views of beautiful or grand 

In nature, from the broad majestic oak 

To the green blade that twinkles in the sun. 

Prompts with remembrance of a present God ! 

His presence, who made all so fair, perceiv'd, 

Makes all still fairer. As with him no scene 

Is dreary, so with him all seasons please. 

Though winter had been none, had man been true. 

And earth be punish'd for its tenant's sake, 

Yet not in vengeance ; as this smiling sky. 

So soon succeeding such an angry night. 

And these dissolving snows, and this clear stream 

Recovering fast its liquid music, prove. 



1'68 THE TASK, BOOK YI. 

Who, then, that has a mind well strung and tun'd 
To contemplation, and within his reach 
A scene so friendly to his favourite task, 
Would waste attention at the chequer'd board, 
His host of wooden warriors to and fro 
Marching and countermarching, with an -eye 
As fix'd as marble, with a forehead ridg'd 
And furrow'd into storms, and with a hand 
Trembling, as if eternity were hung 
In balance on his conduct of a pin ?— 
Nor envies he aught more their idle sport, 
Who pant with appHcation misapplied 
To trivial toys, and, pushing ivory balls 
Across a velvet level, feel a joy 
Akin to rapture when the bawble finds 
Its destin'd goal, of diflicult access, — 
Nor deems he wiser him, who gives his noon 
To miss, the mercer's plague, from shop to shop 
Wandering, and littering with unfolded silks 
The poli&h'd counter, and approving none. 
Or promising with smiles to call again,— 
Nor him, who by his vanity seduc'd. 
And sooth'd into a dream that he -discerns 
The difference of a Guidofroma daub, 
Frequents the crowded auction : station'd there 
A 9 duly as the Langford of the show, 
With glass at eye, and catalogue in hand, 
And tongue accomplish'd in the fulsome cant 
And pedantry that coxcombs learn with ease j 
Oft as the price-deciding hammer falls 
He notes it in his book, then raps his box. 
Swears 'tis a bargain, rails at his hard fate 



P,r^,.n/o^ 







/yioa'?f e/o/a//if//^Y //V//y A/ej / yr^ffe?i/^{7/ff^/^, 



i&OOK VI, THE WINTER WALK AT NOON. 169 

That he has let it pass — but never bids ! 

Here, unmolested, through whatever sign 
The sun proceeds, I wander. Neither mist. 
Nor freezing sky nor sultry, checking me, 
Nor stranger intemieddling mith my joy. 
Even in the spring and playtime of the year, 
That calls th' unwonted villager abroad 
With all her little ones, a sportive train. 
To gather king^cups in the yellow mead, 
A.nd prink their hair with daisies, or to pick 
A cheap but wholesome sallad from the brook. 
These shades are all my own. The timorous hare, 
Grown so familiar with her frequent guest. 
Scarce shuns me ; and the stock^dove, unalarm'd 
Sits cooing in the pine-tree, nor suspends 
His long love-ditty for my near approach. 
Drawn from his refuge in some lonely elm 
That age or injury has hollow 'd deep, 
Where, on his bed of wool and matted leaves. 
He has outslept the winter, ventures forth 
To frisk awhile, and bask in the warm sun. 
The squirrel, fiippant, p^rt and full of play ; 
He sees me, and at once, swift as a bird, 
Ascends the neighboring beach ) there whisks his 

brush. 
And perks his ears, and stamps and cries aloud, 
With ail the prettiness oi fcigii'd alarm, 
And anger insignificantly fierce* 

The heart is hard in nature, and unfit 
For human fellowship, as being void 
Of sympathy, and therefore dead alike 

V<>L. 11. ^ |i 



170 



THE TASK. BOOK VI. 



To love and friendship both, that is not pleas'd 

W ith sight of animals enjoying hfe, 

Nor feels their happiness augment his own. 

The bounding fawn, that darts across the glade 

When none pursues, through mere delight of heart, 

And spirits buoyant with excess of glee ; 

The horse as wanton, and almost as fleet. 

That skims the spacious meadow at full speed. 

Then stops and snorts, and throwing high his heels^ 

Starts to the voluntary race again ; 

The very kine that gambol at high noon, 

The total herd receiving first from one 

That leads the dance a summons to be gay, 

Though wild their strange vagaries, and uncouth 

Their efforts, yet resolv'd with one consent 

To give such act an utterance as they may 

To ecstacy too big to be suppressed — 

These, and a thousand images of bliss. 

With which kind nature graces every scene 

Where cruel man defeats not her design, 

Impart to the benevolent, who wish 

All that are capable of pleasure pleas'd, 

A far superior happiness to theirs. 

The comfort of a reasonable joy. 

Man scarce had risen, obedient to his cali 
Who form'd him from the dust, his future grave. 
When he was crown'd as never king was since, 
God set the diadem upon his head. 
And angel choirs attended. Wondering stood 
The new made monarch, while before him pass'd, 
AH happy, and all perfect in their kind, 



tOOat VI. THE WINTER WALK AT NOON. 171 

The creatures summon'd from their various haunts 

To see their sovereign, and confess his swaj. 

Vast was his empire, absolute his power. 

Or bounded only by a law, whose force 

'Twas his sublimest privilege to feel 

And own — the law of universal love. 

He ruPd with meekness, they obey'd with joy ; 

No cruel purpose lurkM within his heart, 

And no distrust of his intent in theirs. 

So Eden was a scene of harmless sport, 

Where kindness on his part who ruPd the whole 

Begat a tranquil confidence in all. 

And fear as yet was not, nor cause for fear. 

But sin marr'd all ; and the revolt of man, 

That source of evils not exhausted yet. 

Was punish'd with revolt of his from him. 

Garden of God, how terrible the change 

Thy groves and lawns then witness'd ! Every fieart, 

Each animal of every name conceivM 

A jealousy and an instinctive fear, 

And, conscious of some danger, either fled 

Precipitate the loath'd abode of man, 

Or growPd defiance in such angry sort, 

As taught him, too, to tremble in his turn. 

Thus harmony and family accord 

Were driven from Paradise ; and in that hour 

The seeds of cruelty that since have swelled 

To such gigantic and enormous growth, 

Were sown in human nature's fruitful soiL 

Hence date the persecution and the pain 

That man inflicts on all inferior kinds, 



172 THE TASK* BOOK VU 

Regardless of their plaints. To make him sport> 
To gratify the frenzy of his wrath, 
Or his base gluttony, are causes good 
And just, in his account, why bird and beast 
Should suffer torture, and the streams be dy'd 
With blood of their inhabitants impal'd. 
Earth groans beneath the burden of a war 
Wag'd with defenceless innocence, while he^ 
Not satisfied to prey on all around, 
Adds tenfold bitterness to death by pangs 
Needless, and first torments ere he devours^ 
Now happiest they that occupy the scenes 
The most remote from his abhorrM resort, 
Whom once, as delegate of God on earth. 
They fear'd, and as his perfedl image, lovM. 
The wilderness is theirs^ with all its caves, 
Its hollow glens, its thickets, and its plains,^ 
Unvisited by man. There they are free. 
And howl and roar as Hkes them, uncontrolled |. 
Nor ask his leave to slumber or to play. 
Woe to the tyrant, if he dare intrude 
Within the confines of their wild domain ! 
The lion tells him — I am monarch here I 
And if he spare him, spares him on the terms 
Of royal mercy, and through generous scora 
To rend a victim trembhng at his foot. 
In measure, as by force of instinct drawn, 
Or by necessity constrained, they live 
Dependent upon man ; those in his fields, 
These at his crib, and some beneath his roof, 
1 hey prove too often at how dear a rate 



BOOK VI. THE WINTER 'WALK AT NOON. 173 

He sells protection. — Witness at his foot 
The spaniel dying, for some venial fault. 
Under dissection of the knotted scourge- 
Witness the patient ox, with stripes and yells 
Driven to the slaughter, goaded, as he runs, 
To madness ; while the savage at his heels 
Laughs at the frantic sufferer's fury spent 
Upon the guiltless passenger overthrown. 
He too, is witness, noblest of the train 
That wait on man, the flight-performing horse : 
With unsuspecting readiness he takes 
His murderer on his back, and push'd all day, 
With bleeding sides and flanks that heave for Hfe, 
To the far-distant goal, arrives and dies. 
So little mercy shows who needs so much ! 
Does law, so jealous in the cause of man, 
Denounce no doom on the delinquent ? — None. 
He lives, and o'er his brimming beaker boasts 
(As if barbarity were high desert) 
Th' inglorious feat, and, clamorous in praise 
Of the poor brute, seems wisely to suppose 
The honours of his matchless horse his own ! 
But many a crime, deem'd innocent on earth. 
Is reglster'd in heaven ; and these, no doubt. 
Have each their record, with a curse annexM. 
Man may dismiss compassion from his heart, 
But God will never. When he charg'd the Jew 
T' assist his foe's down -fallen beast to rise ; 
And when the bush-exploring boy, that selz'd 
The young, to let the parent bird go free ; 
Prov'd he not plainly that his meaner wo*ks 
Are yet his care, and have an interest all, 
p2 



17^ rnt TASK* BOOK Vl^ 

All, in the universal Father's love ? 

On Noah, and in him on all mankind. 

The charter was conferred by which we hold 

The flesh of animals in fee, and claim 

O'er all we feed on power of life and death. 

But lead the instrument, and mark it well ; 

Th' oppression of a tyrannous control 

Can find no warrant there. Feed, then, and yield 

Thanks for thy food. Carnivorous, through sin, 

Feed on the slain, but spare the living brute ! 

The Governor of all, himself to all 
So bountiful, in whose attentive ear 
The unfledged raven and the lion's whelp 
Plead not in vain for pity on the pangs 
Of hunger unassuag'd, has interpos'd. 
Not seldom, his avenging arm, to smite 
Th' injurious trampler upon nature's law. 
That claims forbearance even for a brute. 
He hates the hardness of a Balaam's heart ; 
And, prophet as he was, he might not strike 
The blameless animal, without rebuke. 
On which he rode. Her opportune offence 
Sav'd him, or the unrelenting seer had died. 
He sees that human equity is slack 
To interfere, though in so just a cause ; 
And makes the task his own. Inspiring dumb 
And helpless victims with a sense so keen 
Of injury, with such knowledge of their strength. 
And such sagacity to take revenge. 
That oft the beast has seem'd to judge the mam 
An ancient, not a legendary tale, 



BOOK VI. THE WIHTEK WALK AT NOON. 175 

By one of sound intelligence rehears'd, 

(If such who plead for Providence may seem 

In modern eyes) shall make the doctrine clear.— 

Where England, stretch *d towards the setting sun^. 
Narrow and long, overlooks the western wave. 
Dwelt young Misagathus ; a scorner he 
Of God and goodness, atheist in ostent, 
Vicious in act, in temper savage -fierce. 
He journey 'd ; and his chance was as he went. 
To join a traveller, of far different note— 
Evander, fam'd for piety, for years 
Deserving honour, but for wisdom more. 
Fame had not left the venerable man 
A stranger to the manners of the youth. 
Whose face, too, was familiar to his view. 
Their way was on the margin of the land. 
O'er the green summit of the rocks, whose base 
Beats back the roaring surge, scarce heard so high. 
The charity that warm'd his heart was mov*d 
At sight of the man -monster. With a smile 
Gentle, and affable, and full of grace. 
As fearful of offending whom he wish'd 
Much to persuade, he plied his ear with truths 
Not harshly thunder'd forth or rudely press'd, 
But, hke his purpose, gracious, kind and sweet. 

" And dost thou dream,'* th' impenetrable man 
Exclaim'd, ** that me the lullabies of age, 
*' And fantasies of dotards, such as thou, 
** Can cheat, or move a moment 's fear in me ? 
•' Mark now the proof I give thee, that the brave 
** Need no such aids as superstition lend« 



176 TtiL TASK, B60K VI, 

*« To Steel their hearts against the dread of death,'* 

He spoke, and to the precipice at hand 

Pushed with a madman's fury. Fancy shrinks, 

And the blood thrills and curdles, at the thought 

Of such a gulf as he designM his grave. 

But, though the felon on his back could dare 

The dreadful leap, more rational, his steed 

Declln'd the death, and wheeling swiftly round, 

Or e'er his hoof had press'd the crumbhng verge. 

Baffled his rider, sav*d against his will ! 

The frenzy of the brain may be redressed 

By medicine well applied, but without grace 

The heart's insanity admits no cure, 

Enrag'd the more, by what might have reform'd 

His horrible intent, again he sought 

Destruction, with a zeal to be destroy''d, 

With sounding whip, and rowels died in blood. 

But still in vain. The Providence, that meant 

A longer date to the far nobler beast, 

Spar'd yet again th' ignobler, for his sake. 

And now, his prowess prov'd, and his sincere 

Incurable obduracy evinced, [earned 

His rage grew cool ; and, pleas'd perhaps t' have 

So cheaply the renown of that attempt, 

With looks of some complacence he resum'd 

His road, deriding much the blank amaze 

Of good Evander, still where he was left 

Fix'd motionless, and petrified with dread. 

So on they far'd. Discourse on other themes 

Ensuing, seem'd t' obliterate the past ; 

And, tamer far for so much fury shown, 

(As is the course of rash and fiery men) 



BOOK VI. THE WINTER WALK AT NOON. 177 

The rude companion smiPd, as if transform'd- 

But 'twas a transient calm. A storm was near, 

An unsuspected storm. His hour was come. 

The impious challenger of power divine 

Was now to learn, that Heaven, though slow to wrath. 

Is never >vith impunity defied. 

His horse, as he had caught his master's mood. 

Snorting, and starting into sudden rage, 

Unbidden, and not now to be controlled, 

Rush*d to the cliff, and, having reached it, stood. 

At once the shock unseated him : he flew 

Sheer o'er the craggy barrier ; and, immers*d 

Deep in the flood, found, when he sought it not, 

The death he had deserv'd — and died alone ! 

So God wrought double justice ; made the fool 

The victim of his own tremendous choice. 

And taught ?. brute the way to safe revenge. 

BT I would not enter on my list of friends 

(Though grac'd with polish'd manners and fine sense> 

Yet wanting sensibility) the man 

Who needlessly sets foot upon a worm. 

An inadvertent step may crush the snail 

That crawls at evening in the public path ; 

But he that has humanity, forewarn'd, 

Will tread aside, and let the reptile live. 

The creeping vermin, loathsome to the sight, 

And charg'd perhaps with venom, that intruder, 

A visitor unwelcome, into scenes 

Sacred to neatness and repose — th' alcove. 

The chaniber, or refectory — may die ; 

A neces:ary act incurs noblame. 



17S THE TASK. BOOK VK 

Not SO when held within their proper bounds, 

And guiltless of offence, they range the air, 

Or take their pastime in the spacious field : 

There they are priviledg'd ; and he that hunts 

Or harms them there is guilty of a wrong, 

Disturbs th' economy of nature's realm, 

Who, when she form'd, designed them an abode. 

Tlie sum is this. — If man's convenience, health, 

Or safety, interfere, his rights and claims 

Are paramount, and must extinguish theirs. 

Else they are all — the meanest things that are— 

As free to live, and to enjoy that life. 

As God was free to form them at the first, 

\Vho, in his sovereign wisdom, made them all. 

Ye, therefore, who love mercy, teach your sons 

To love it too. The spring-time of our years 

Is soon dishonour'd and defiled in most 

By budding illc, that ask a prudent hand 

To check them. But, alas ! none sooner shoots^ 

If unrestrained, into luxuriant growth. 

Than cruelty, most devilish of them all. 

Mercy to him that shows it, is the rule 

And righteous limitation of its act. 

By which Heaven moves in pardoning guilty man f 

And he that shows none, being ripe in years 

And conscious of the outrage he commits, 

Shall seek it, and not find it, in his turn*- 

Distinguished much by reason, and still more 
By our capacity of grace divine, 
From creatures that exist but for our sake. 
Which, having serv'd us, perish, we are held 



BOOK VI. THE WINTER WALK AT NOON. 179 

Accountable ; and God, some future day, 

Will reckon with us roundly for th' abuse 

Of what he deems no mean or trivial trust. 

Superior as we are, they yet depend 

Not more on human help than we on theirs. 

Their strength, or speed, or vigilance, were given 

In aid of our defects. In some are found 

Such teachable and apprehensive parts. 

That man's attainments in his own concerns, 

Match'd with th' expert ness of the brute's in theirs, 

Ar« oft-times vanquished and thrown far behind.. 

Some show that nice sagacity of smell. 

And read with such discernment, in the port 

And figure of the man, his secret aim. 

That oft we owe our safety to a skill 

We could not teach, and must despair to learn. 

But learn we might, if not too proud to stoop 

To quadruped instructors, many a good 

And useful quality, and virtue too, 

Rarely exemplified among ourselves. 

Attachment never to be wean'd, or chang'd 

By any change of fortune ; proof alike 

Against unkindness, absence, and neglect; 

Fidelity, that neither bribe nor threat 

Can move or warp ; and gratitude for small 

And trivial favours lasting as the life, 

And glistening even in the dying eye. 

Man praises man. Desert in arts or arms 

Wins pubHc honour ; and ten thousand sit 

Patiently present at a sacred song, 

-Commemoration-mad ; content to hear 

;(0h wonderful elTect of music's power! 



ISO THE TASK. 



BOOK VI. 



Messiah's eulogy for Handel's sake ! 

But less, methinks, than sacrilege might serve— 

(For, was it less ? what heathen would have darM 

To strip Jove's statue of his oaken wreath, 

And hang it up in honour of a man ?) 

Much less might serve, when all that we design 

Is but to gratify an itching ear. 

And give the day to a musician's praise. 

Remember Handel ? Who, that was not born 

Deaf as the dead to harmony, forgets. 

Or can, the more than Homer of his age ? 

Yes — we remember him ; and, while we praise 

A talent so divine, remember too, 

That his most holy book from whom it came, 

Was never meant, was never us'd before, 

To buckram out the memory of a man. 

But hush ! — ^the muse perhaps is too severe ; 

And, with a gravity beyond the size 

And measure of th' offence, rebukes the deed 

Less impious than absurd, and owing more 

To want of judgment than to wrong design. 

So in the chapel of old Ely-House. 

When wandering Cliarles, who meant to be the third. 

Had fled from William, and the news was fresh, 

The simple clerk, but loyal, did announce, 

And eke did rear right merrily ► two staves. 

Sung to the praise and glory of King George ! 

— Man praises man ; and Garrick's memory next. 

When time hath somewhat mellow'd it, and made 

The idol of our worship v/hile he liv'd 

The God of u jr idolatry once more, 

Shall have its altar ; and the world shall go 



BOOK VI, THE WINTER WALK AT NOON. ISJ 

In pilgrimage to bow before his shrine. 

The theatre, too small, shall suffocate 

Its squeezed contents, and more than it admits 

Shall sigh at their exclusion, and return 

Ungratified. For there some noble lord 

Shall stuff his shoulders with King Richard's bunch, 

Or wrap himself in Hamlet's inky cloak. 

And strut, and storm, and straddle, stamp and starCf 

To show the world how Garrick did not act— 

For Garrick was a worshipper himself ; 

He drew the liturgy, and framed the rites 

And solemn ceremonial of the day. 

And call'd the world to worship on the banks 

Of Avon, fam'd in song. Ah, pleasant proof 

That piety has still in human hearts 

Some place, a spark or two not yet extinct. 

The mulberry-tree was hung with blooming wreaths ; 

The mulberry-tree stood centre of the dance ; 

The mulberry-tree was hymn*d with dulcet airs ; 

And from his touch-wood trunk the mulberry-tree 

Supplied such relics as devotion holds 

Still sacred, and preserves with pious care. 

So 'twas a hallow'd time : decorum reign'd. 

And mirth without offence. No few return'd, 

Doubtless, much edified, and all refresh'd. 

— Man praises man. The rabble, all alive. 

From tippling-benches, cellars, stalls, and styes. 

Swarm in the streets. The statesman of the day, 

A pompous and slow-moving pageant, comes. 

Some shout him, and some hang upon his car. 

To gaze in 's eyes, and bless him. Maidens wave 

Their 'kerchiefs, and old women weep for joy j 

VofL. ri. Q 



182 THE TASK. 



BOOK Vf. 



While others, not so satisfied, unhorse 

The gilded equipage, and, turning loose 

His steeds, usurp a place they well deserve. 

Why ? what has charm'd them i Hath he sav'd the 

state ? 
No. Doth he purpose its salvation ? No. 
Enchanting novelty, that moon at full, 
That finds out every crevice of the head 
That is not sound and perfect, hath in theirs 
Wrought this disturbance. But the wane is near. 
And his own cattle must suffice him soon. 
Thus idly do we waste the breath of praise, 
And dedicate a tribute, in its use 
And just direction sacred, to a thing 
Doom'd to the dust, or lodg'd already there ! 
Encomium in old time was poet's work ; 
But, poets having lavishly long since 
Exhausted all materials of the art, 
The task now falls into the pubhc hand ; 
And I, contented with an humble theme, 
Have pour'd my stream of panegyric down 
The vale of nature, where it creeps, and winds 
Among her lovely works with a secure 
And unambitious course, reflecting clear. 
If not the virtues, yet the worth, of brutes. 
And I am recompensed, and deem the toils 
Of poetry not lost, if verse of mine 
May stand between an animal and woe, 
And teach one tyrant pity for his drudge. 

The groans of nature in this nether world, 
Which Heaven has heard for ages, have an end. 



BOOK VI. THE WINTER WALK AT KOOX, 183 

Foretold by prophets, and by poets sung, 
Whose fire was kindled at the prophets' lamp> 
The time of rest, the promis*d sabbath, comes* 
Six thousand years of sorrow have well nigh 
Fulfilled their tardy and disastrous course 
Over a sinful world ; and what remains 
Of this tempestuous state of human things, 
Is merely as the working of a sea 
Before a calm, that rocks itself to rest ; 
For HE, whose car the winds are, and the cloudl 
Thj dust that waits upon his sultry march. 
When sin hath mov*d him, and his wrath is hot, 
Shall visit earth in mercy ; shall descend, 
Propitious, in his chariot pav'd with love ; 
And what his storms have blasted and defac'd 
For man*s revolt shall with a smile repair. 

Sweet is the harp of prophecy ; too sweet 
Not to be wrong'd by a mere mortal touch : 
Nor can the wonders it records be sung 
To meaner music, and not suffer loss. 
But when a poet, or when one like me, 
Happy to rove among poetic liowers, 
Though poor in skill to rear them, lights at last 
On some fair theme, some theme divinely fair. 
Such is the impulse and the spur he feels 4 

To give it praise proportion'd to its worth. 
That not t' attempt it, arduous as he deems 
The labour, were a task more arduous still. 

Oh scenes surpassing fable, and yet true. 
Scenes of accomplish'd bliss ! which who can see. 
Though but in distant prospect, and not feel 



1^ THE TASK. BOOR \U 

His soul refreshed with foretaste of the joy ^ 

Rivers of gladness water all the earth, 

And clothe all climes with beauty ; the reproach 

Of barrenness is past. The fruitful field 

Laughs with abundance ; and the land, once lean^ 

Or fertile only in its own disgrace, 

EkuUs to sec its thistly curse repealed* 

The various seasons woven into one, 

And that one season an eternal spring, 

The garden fears no blight, and needs no fencr, 

For there is none to covet, all are full. 

The lion, and the libbard, and tlie bear 

Graze with the fearless flocks ; all bask at nooa 

Together, or all gambol in the shade 

Of the same grove, and drink one common stream. 

Antipathies are none* No foe to maa 

Lurks in the serpent now : the mother sees, 

And smiles to see, her infant's playful hand 

Stretch'd forth to dally with the crested worm. 

To stroke his azure neck, or to receive 

The lambent homage of his arrowy tongue. 

Ail creatures worship man, and all mankind 

One Lord, one Father. Error has no place : 

That creeping pestilence is driven away ;. 

The breath of heaven has chasM it. In the heart 

IKo passion touches a discordant string, 

But all is harmony atid love. Disease 

Is not : the pure and uncontaminate blood 

Holds its due course, nor fears the frost of age. 

One song employs all nations ; and all cry, 

'< Worthy the L^irab, for he was slain for us !'* 



BOOK VI. THE WINTER WALK AT NOON. 185 

The dwellers in the vales and on the rocks 
Shout to each other, and the mountain tops 
From distant mountains catch the flying joy ; 
Till, nation after nation taught the strain, 
Earth rolls the rapturous hosanna round. 
Behold the measure of the promise fiU'd ; 
See Salem built, the labour of a God ! 
Bright as a sun the sacred city shines ; 
All kingdoms and all princes of the earth 
Flock to that light ; the glory of all lands 
Flows into her : unbounded is her joy, 
And endless her increase. Thy rams are there, 
*Nebaioth, and the flocks oi Kedar there ; 
The looms of Ormus, and the mines of Ind, 
And Saba's spicy groves, pay tiibute there. 
Praise is in all her gates : upon her walls, 
And in her streets, and in her spacious courts, 
Is heard salvation. Eastern Java there 
Kneels with the native of the farthest west ; 
And Ethiopia spreads abroad the hand. 
And worships. Her report has travell'd forth 
Into all lands. From every clime they come 
To see thy beauty and to share thy joy, 
O Sion ! an assembly such as earth 
Saw never, such as heaven stoops down to see. 



* Ncbaioth and KeJar, the sons of Ishmael, and progenitors 
cf the Arabs, in the prophetic scripture here alluded to, may 
te reasonably considered as representalives-of the Centilcs at 

tt2 



, ISe THE TASK. BOOK VU 

Thus heaven-ward all things tend. For all were 
once 
Perfect, and all must be at length restorM. 
So God has greatly purposed ; who would eke 
In his dishonoured works himself endure 
Dishonour, and be wrong'd without redress. 
Haste, then, and wheel away a shattered worlds 
Ye slow»revolving seasons ! we would see 
(A sight to which our eyes are strangers yet) 
A world that does not dread and hate his laws, 
And suffer for its crime ; would learn how fair 
The creature is that God pronounces good, 
How pleasant in itself what pleases him. 
Here every drop of honey hides a sting ; 
Worms wind themselves into our sweetest flowers ^ 
And even the joy that haply some poor heart 
Derives from heaven, pure as the fountain is. 
Is sullied in the stream, taking a teint 
From touch of human lips, at best impure.. 
Oh for a world in principle as chaste 
As this is gross and selfish ! over which 
Custom and prejudice shall bear no sway, 
That govern all things here, shouldering aside 
The meek and modest truth, and forcing her 
To seek a refuge from the tongue of strife 
In nooks obscure, far from the ways of men :•— 
Where violence shall never lift the sword, 
Nor cunning justify the proud man's wrong, 
Leaving the poor no remedy but tears : — 
Where he that fills an office shall esteem 



jBOOK Vi. THE WINTER WALK AT NOOK- 187 

Th' occasion it presents of doing good 

More than the perquisite : — where law shall speak 

Seldom, and never but as wisdom prompts 

And equity ; not jealous more to guard 

A worthless form, than to decide aright :— ^ 

Where fashion shall not sanctify abuse, 

Nor smooth good-breeding (supplemental grace)? 

With lean performance ape the work of love I 

Come then, and, added to thy many crowns^. 
Receive yet one, the crown of all the earth. 
Thou who alone art worthy t It was thine 
By ancient covenant, ere nature's birth ;, 
And thou hast made it thine by purchase since. 
And overpaid its value with thy blood. 
Thy saints proclaim thee king ; and in their hearts 
Thy title is engraven with a pen 
Dipp*d in the fountain of eternal love. 
Thy saints proclaim thee king ; and thy delay 
Gives courage to their foes, who, could they see 
The dawn of thy last advent, long desir'd. 
Would creep into the bowels of the hills. 
And flee for safety to the falling rocks. 
The very spirit of the world is tir'd 
Of its own taunting question, ask*d so long, 
" Where is the promise of your Lord's approach T* 
The infidel has shot his bolts away, 
Till his exhausted quiver yielding none. 
He gleans the blunted shafts that have recoil'd,. 
And aims them at the shield of truth again. 
The veil is rent, rent too by priestly haads> 



188 TH£ TASK. BOOK VI. 

That hides divinity from mortal eyes ; 

And all the mysteries to faith proposed. 

Insulted and traduc'd, are cast aside, 

As useless, to the moles and to the bats. 

They now are deem'd the faithful, and are prais'd. 

Who, constant only in rejecting thee, 

Deny thy Godhead with a martyr's z-eal, 

And quit their office for their error's sake. 

Blind, and in love with darkness ! yet even these 

Worthy, compar'd with sycophants, who knee 

Thy name adoring, and then preach thee man 1 

So fares thy church. But how thy church may fare 

The world takes little thought. Who will may preach. 

And what they will. All pastors are alike 

To wandering sheep, resolv'd to follow none. 

Two gods divide them all — Pleasure and Gain, 

For these they live, they sacrifice to these, 

And in their service wage perpetual war 

With conscience and with thee. Lust in their hearts, 

And mischief in their hands, they roam the earth 

To prey upon each other ; stubborn, fierce. 

High-minded, foaming out their own disgrace. 

Thy prophets speak of such, and, noting down 

The features of the last degenerate times, 

Exhibit every lineament of these. 

Come then, and, added to thy many crowns, 

Receive yet one as radiant as the rest, 

Due to thy last and most effectual work. 

Thy word fulfilPd, the conquest of a worW ! 



BOOK VU THE WINTER WALK AT NOON. l'8f^ 

He is the happy man, whose life even now 
Shows somewhat of that happier life to come ; 
Who, doom'd to an obscure but tranquil state, 
Is pleas'd with it, and, were he free to choose, 
Would make his fate his choice ; whom peace, the 

fruit 
Of virtue, and whom virtue, fruit of faiths- 
Prepare for happiness ; bespeak him one 
Content indeed to sojourn while he must 
Below the skies, but having there his home. 
The world overlooks him in her busy search- 
Of objects more illustrious in her view j 
And, occupied as earnestly as she, 
Though more sublimely, he overlooks the world. 
She scorns his pleasures, for she knows them not ;. , 
He seeks not hers, for he has prov'd them vain. 
He cannot skim the ground like summer birds 
Pursuing gilded flies ; and such he deems 
Her honours, her emoluments, her joys.^ 
Therefore in contemplation is his bliss. 
Whose power is such that whom she lifts from eartlt 
She makes familiar with a heaven unseen. 
And shows him glories yet to be reveard. 
Not slothful he, though seeming unemployed, 
And censurM oft as useless. Stillest streams 
Oft water fairest meadows, and the bird 
That flutters least, is longest on the wing. 
Ask him, indeed, what trophies he has ralsM^ 
Or what achievements of immortal fame 
He purposes, and he shall answer — None. 
His warfare Is within. There unfatigu'd 



190 THE TASK. BOOK 71, 

His fervent spirit labours. There he fights, 

And there obtains fresh triumphs o'er himself, 

And never withering wreaths, compar'd with whick. 

The laurels that a Cxsar reaps are weeds. 

perhaps the self-approving haughty world. 

That as she sweeps him with her whistling sllkg 

Scarce deigns to notice him, or if she see, 

Deems him a cypher in the works of God, 

Receives advantage from his noiseless hours, 

Of which she little dreams. Perhaps she owe» 

Her sunshine and her rain, her blooming spring 

And plenteous harvest to the prayer he makes. 

When, Isaac like, the solitary saint 

Walks forth to meditate at even-tide. 

And think on her who thinks not for herselfc 

Forgive him, then, thou bustler in concerns 

Of little worth, an idler in the best. 

If, author of no mischief and some good. 

He seek his proper happiness by means 

That may advance, but cannot hinder, thine. 

Nor, though he tread the secret path of life, 

Engage no notice, and enjoy mych ease. 

Account him an incumbrance on the state. 

Receiving benefits, and rendering none. 

His sphere though humble, if that humble sphere 

Shine with his fair example, and though small 

His influence, if that influence all be spent 

In soothing sorrow and in qrenching strife, 

In aiding helpless indigence, in works 

Prom which at least a jrratcful few derive 



BOOK VI. THE WINTER WALK AT NOON. I9I 

Some taste of comfort in a world of woe, 
Then let the supercilious great confess 
He serves his country, recompenses well 
The state, beneath the shadow of whose viafe 
He sits secure, and in the scale of life 
Holds no ignoble, though a slighted place. 
The man whose virtues are more felt than seen. 
Must drop indeed the hope of public praise ; 
But he may boast what few that win it can— . 
That, if his country stand not by his skill, 
At least his follies have not wrought her fall. 
Polite refinement offers him in vain 
Her golden tube, through which a sensual world 
Draws gross impurity, and likes it well. 
The neat conveyance hiding all th' offence. 
Not that he peevishly rejects a mode 
Because that world adopts it. If it bear 
The stamp and clear impression of good sense^ 
And be not costly more than of true worth. 
He puts it on, and for decorum sake. 
Can wear it e'en as gracefully as she. 
She judges of refinement by the eye. 
He by the test of conscience, and a heart 
Not soon deceived ; aware that what is base 
No polish can make sterling ; and that vice. 
Though well perfum'd and elegantly dress'd, 
Like an unburied carcase trick'd with flowers, 
Is but a garnish'd nuisance, fitter far 
For cleanly riddance than for fair attire. 
So life glides smoothly and by stealth away, 



192 TH£ TilSK. BOOK VI. 

More golden than that age of fabled gold 
Renown'd in ancient song ; not vex'd with care 
Or stain'd with guilt, beneficent, approved 
Of God^and man, and peaceful in its end. 
So glide my life away ! and so at last. 
My share of duties .decently fulfill*d, 
May some disease, not tardy to perform 
Its destined office, yet with gentle stroke^ 
Dismiss me, weary, to a safe retreat 
Beneath the turf that I have often trod. 
T.t shall not grieve me, then, that once, when caU'd 
To dress a Sofa with the flowers of verse, 
I play'd awhile, obedient to the fair, 
With that light task ; .but soon, to please her moi^, 
Whom flowrers alone I knew would little please. 
Let fall th* unfinished wreath, and rov'd for fruit ; 
RovM far, and gather'd much : some harsh, 'tis true, 
Pick'd from the thorns and briers of reproof, 
But wholesome, well digested ; grateful some 
To palates that can taste immortal truth ; 
Insipid else, and sure to be despis'd. 
But all is in his hand whose praise I seek. 
In vain the poet sings, and the world hears. 
If he regard not, though divine the theme. 
Tis not in artful measures, in the chime 
And idle tinkling of a minstrel's lyre. 
To charm his ear, whose eye is on the heart ; 
Whose frown can disappoint the proudest strain. 
Whose approbation — prosper even mik£« 



TIROCINIUM 



OR, 



A REVIEW OF SCHOOLS. 



VOL, n. R 



T"0 THE 

Rev^ JViUiam Cawthorn UnwWy 

RECTOR OF STOCK IN ESSEX, 

THE TUTOR OF HIS TWO SONS, 

THE FOLLOWING 

POEM, 

RECOMMENDING PRIVATE TUITION 

IN PREFERENCE TO 

AN EDUCATION AT SCHOOL, 
iS WSCRISED, 
BY HIS AFFECTIONATE PRIENH^ 

WILLIAM COWPER. 
OitfiYt Nor. 6, 1784. 



TIEOCIMUM. 



I 



T is not from his fornix in wliich we trace 
Strength joined with beauty, dignity with grace ; 
That man, the master of this globe, derives 
His right of empire over all that lives. 
That form, indeed, th* associate of a mind. 
Vast in its powers, etherial in its kind. 
That form, the labour of almighty skill, 
Fram'd for the service of a free-born will. 
Asserts precedence, and bespeaks control, 
But borrows all its grandeur from the souL 
Here is the state, the splendour, and the throne. 
An intellectual kingdom, all her own. 
For her the memory fills her ample page 
With truths pour'd down from every distant age ; 
For her amasses and unbounded store, 
The wisdom of great nations, now no more ; 
Though laden, not incumbered with her spoil ; 
Laborious, yet unconscious of her toil ; 
When copiously supplied, then most enlarg'd ; 
Still to be fed, and not to be surcharged. 
For her the fancy, roving unconfin'd. 
The present muse of every pensive miod. 



\96 TiRocrNIu^f» 

VVovks magic wonders, adds a brighter hue 
To nature's scenes than nature ever knew. 
At her command winds rise and waters roar ; 
Again she lays them slumbering on the shore ; 
With flower and fruit the wilderness supplies, 
Or bids the rocks in ruder pomp arise. 
For her the judgmeHt, umpire in the strife 
That grace and nature have to wage through life, 
Quick-sighted arbiter of good and ill^ 
Appointed sage preceptor to the will. 
Condemns, approves, and with a faithful voice 
Guides the decision of a doubtful choice. 

Why did the fiat of a God give birth 
To yon fair sun and his attendant earth ? 
A nd, when descending he resigns the skies. 
Why takes the gentler moon her turn to rise, 
Whom ocean feels through all his countless waves* 
And owns her power on every shore he laves i 
Why Jo the seasons still enrich the year, 
Fruitful and young as in their first career ? 
Spring hangs her infant blossoms on the trees^ 
Rock'd in the cradle of the western breeze ; 
Summer in haste the thriving charge receive* 
Beneath the shade of her expanded leaves. 
Till autumn's fiercer heats and plenteous dews 
Dye them at last in all their glowing hues. — ' 
Twere wild profusion all, and bootless waste. 
Power misemployed, munificence misplaced, 
Had not its Author dignified the plan, 
Andcrown'd k with the majesty of imn^ 



TIROCINIUM. 197 

Thus form'd, thus plac'd, intelligent, ^nd taught, 
Look where he will, the wondere God has wrought^ 
The wildest scorner of his Maker's laws 
Finds in a sober moment time to pause. 
To press th' irpportant question on his heart, 
** Why form'd at all, and wherefore as thou art V 
If man be what he seems — ^this hour a slave, 
The next mere dust and ashes in the grave ; 
Endued with reason only to desciy 
His crimes and foUies with an achi'ig eye ; 
With passions just that he may prove with pain. 
The force he spends against their fury vain ; 
And if, soon after having burnt, by turns. 
With every lust wi;h which frail nature burns. 
His being end where death dissolves the bond. 
The tomb take all, and all be blank beyond — 
Then he, of all that nature has brought forth. 
Stands self-impeach *d, the creature of least worth. 
And useless while he lives, and when he dies, 
Brings into doubt the wisdom of the skies. 

Truths that the leam'd pursue with eager thought, 
Are not important always as dear-bought, 
Proving at last, though told in pompous strains, 
A childish waste of philosophic pains ; 
But truths on which depends our main concern, 
That 'tis our shame and misery not to learn, 
Shine by the side of eveiy path we tread. 
With such a lustre, he that runs may read, 
*Tis true, that, if tcHrifle life away 
Down to the sun-set of their latest day, 
R 2 



lOS TlilOCJl«IU^^• 

Then perish on futurity's wide shore, 

Like fleeting exhalations, found no more, 

Were all that Heaven required of human kmd, 

And ail the phn their destiny designed, 

What none could reverence, all might justly blame^ 

And man would breathe but for his Maker's shame*- 

But reason heard, and nature well perus'd. 

At once the dreaming mind is disabused. 

If all we find possessing earth, sea, air, 

Reflect his attribntes who placed them there^ 

Fulfilthe purpose, and appear designed 

Proofs of the wisdom of th' all-seeing Mind, 

^Tis plain the creature whom he chose t'invest 

With kingship and dominion o^er the rest, 

Received his nobler nature, and was made 

Fit for the power in which he stands array'd, 

That first or last, hereafter if not here, 

He too might make his Author's wisdom cl^ar, 

Praise him on earth, or, obstinately dumb, 

Suffer his justice in a world to come. 

This once believ'd^ 'twere logic misapplied 

To prove a consequence by none denied. 

That we are bound to cast the minds^of youth 

Betimes into the mould of heaveul}- truth, 

That, taught of God, they may indeed be wise, 

Nor, ignorantly wandering, miss the skies. 

In early days the conscience has in most 
A quickness, which in later hfe is lost ; 
Preserved from guilt by salutary fears, 
Qr, guilty, soon relenting into tears*. 



TIROGIUIUM. 190 

Too careless often, as our years proceed. 

What friends we sort with, or what books we ready 

Our parents yet exert a prudent care 

To feed our infant minds with proper fare ; 

And wisely store the nursery by degrees 

With wholesome learning, yet acquired with ease. 

Neatly securM from being soil'd or tora 

Beneath a pane of thin translucent horn^ 

A book (to please us at a tender age 

*Tis call'd a book, though but a single page) 

Presents the prayer the Saviour deign'd to teach, 

Which children use, and parsons — when they preach,. 

Lisping our syllables,, we scramble next 

Through moral narrative, or sacred text ; 

And learn with wonder how this world began,. 

Who made, who marr'd, and who has ransomed man i 

Points, which, unless the scripture made them plain^ 

The wisest heads might agitate in vain. 

Oh thou, whom, borne on fancy's eager wing 

Back to the season of life's happy spring, 

I pleas'd remember, and, while memory yet 

Holds fast her office here, can ne^er forget y 

Ingenious dreamer, :n whose well-told tale 

Sweet fiction and" sweet truth alike prevail ;. 

Whose humorous vein,, strong sense, and simple styfe. 

May teach the gayest, make the gravest smile ; 

Witty, and well employ'd, and, like thy Lord, 

Speaking m parables his slighted word ; 



200 'TllLOCINIUM, 

I name thee not, lest so despis'd a name 

Should move a sneer at thy deserved fame ; 

Yet even in transitory life's late day, 

That mingles all my brown with sober grey, 

Revere the man, whose pilgrim marks the road, 

And guides the progress of the soul to God. 

'Twere well with most, if books, that could engage 

Their childhood, pleas'd them at a riper age : 

The man, approving what had charmed the boy^ 

Would die at last in comfort, peace and joy ; 

And not with curses on his heart, who stole 

The gem of truth from his unguarded souL 

The stamp of artless piety, impressed 

By kind tuition on his yielding breast^ 

The youth now bearded, and yet pert and raw, 

Regards with scorn, though once received with awe ; 

And, warp'd into the labyrinth of lies, 

That babblers, called philosophers, devise. 

Blasphemes his creed, as founded on a plan 

Replete with dreams, unworthy of a man. 

Touch but his nature in its ailing part, 

Assert the native evil of his heart. 

His pride resents the charge, although the proof* 

Rise in his forehead, and seem rank enough : 

Point to the cure, describe a Saviour's cross 

As God's expedient to retrieve his loss. 

The young apostate sickens at the view^ 

And hates it with the malice of a Jew. 



* See 2 ChroD. xxvi. i^ 



TIROCINIUM, 201 

How weak the barrier of mere nature proves, 
Oppos'd against the pleasures nature loves ! 
While, self-beti*ay'd, and wilfully undone, 
She longs to yield, no sooner woo'd than won. 
Try now the merits of this blest exchange 
Of modest truth for wit's eccentric range* 
Time was, he clos'd, as he began, the day 
With decent duty, not asham'd to pray ; 
The practice was a bond upon his heart, 
A pledge he gave for a consistent part ; 
Nor could he dare presumptuously displease 
A power confessed so lately on his knees. 
But now farewell all legendary tales— 
The shadows fly, philosophy prevails ! 
Prayer to the winds, and caution tc the waves j 
Religion makes the free by nature slaves ! 
Priests have invented, and the world admir'd 
What knavish priests promulgate as. inspired ; 
Till reason, now no longer overaw'd. 
Resumes her powers, and spurns the clumsy fraud;. 
And, common-sense diffusing real day, 
The meteor of the gospel dies away ! 
Such rhapsodies our shrewd discerning youth. 
Learn from expert inquirers after truth I 
Whose only care, might truth presume to speak^ 
Is not to find what they profess to seek. 
And thus, well-tutor'd only while we share 
A mother's lectures and a nurse's care ; 



20^ TIROCINIUM, 

And taught at schools much mythologic stuff,* 
But sound religion sparingly enough j 
Our early notices of truth, disgrac'd. 
Soon lose their credit, and are all effac'd* 

Would you your son should be a sot or dunce> 
Lascivious, headstrong ; or all these at once ; 
That in good time, the stripling's finished taste 
For loose expense and fashionable waste 
Should prove your rum and his own at last ; 
Train him in public with a mob of boys, 
Childish in mischief only and in noise, 
Else of a mannish growth, and five in tea 
In infidelity and lewdness men- 
There shall he learn, ere sixteen winters old, 
That authors are most ufeful pawn'd or sold ;, 
That pedantry is all that schools impart. 
But taverns teach the knowledge of the heart ; 
There waiter Dick, with Bacchanalian lays. 
Shall win his heart, and have his drunken praise. 
His counsellor and bosom-friend shall prove, 
And some street-pacing harlot his first love. 
Schools, unless discipline were doubly strong. 
Detain their adolescent charge too long j 



* The author begs leave to explain. — Sensible, that with- 
out such knowledge, neither the ancient poels nor historians 
can be tasted, or indeed uaderstood, he docs not mean to cen- 
sure the pains that are taken to instruct a school-boy m the re- 
ligion of the heathen, but merely that neglect of Christian cul- 
ture which leaves Iwm shamefully ignorant of his own. 



TiROCtNItFM* 20S 

The management of tyros of eighteen 

Is difficult, their punishment obscene. 

The stout tall captain, whose superior si^^ 

The minor heroes view with envious eyes. 

Becomes their pattern, upon whom they fix 

Their whole attention, and apeall his tricks. 

His pride, that scorns t' obey or to submit. 

With them is courage ; his effrontery wit. 

His wild- excursions, window-breaking feats, 

Robbery of gardens, quarrels in tlie streets. 

His hair-breadth 'scapes, and all his daring schemes. 

Transport them, and are made their favorite themes. 

In little bosoms such achievements strike 

A kindred spark ; they burn to do the like. 

Thus, half accomplished ere he yet begin 

To show the peeping down upon his chin ; 

And, as maturity of years comes on. 

Made just th* adept that you designed your son 5 

T' ensure the perseverance of his course. 

And give your monstrous project all its force. 

Send him to college. If he there be tam'd, 

Or in one article of vice reclaimed, 

Where no regard of ordinances is shown 

Or look'd for now, the fault must be his own. 

Some sneaking virfeue lurks in him no doubt, y 

Where neither strumpets' charms, nor drinking- L 

Nor gambling practices, can find it out. £bout, J 

Such youths of spirit, and that spirit too. 

Ye nurseries of our boys, we owe to you ! 



204* 



TIROClNrUM. 



Though from oui-selves the mischief more proceeds. 
For public schools 'tis pubHc folly feeds. 
The slaves of custom and estabhsh'd mode, 
With pack-horse constancy we keep the road, 
Crooked or straight, through quags or thorny dellsj 
True to the jinghng of our leader's bells, 
To follow foohsh precedents, and wink 
With botli our eyes is easier than to think i 
And such an age as ours baulks no expense, 
Except of caution and of common sense ; 
Else, sure, notorious fact and proof so plain 
W^ould turn our steps into a wiser train. 
I blame not those, wIk), with what care they can, 
O'erwatch the numerous .and unruly clan ; 
Or, if I blame, ^tisonly that they dare 
Promise a work of which they must despair. 
Have ye, ye sage intendants of the whole, 
An ubiquarian presence and control— « 
Elisha's eye, that, when Geliazi ^tray'^d, 
Went with him and saw all the game he play'd? 
Yes-^ye .are conscious ; and on all the shelves 
Your pupils strike upon, have struck yourselves. 
Or, if by nature sober, ye had then. 
Boys as ye were^ the gravity of men ,; 
Ye knew at least, by constant proofs address'd 
To ears and eyes, the vices of the rest. 
But ye conni\^ at what ye cannot cure. 
And evils, not to be endur'd, endure, 
"Lest power exerted, but without success, 
Jhould teakc the little ye retain still less. 



TIHOCISIUM. 205 



1 



Ye once were justly fam'd for bringing forth 

Undoubted scholarship and genuine worth ; 

And in the firmament of fame still shines 

A glory, bright as that of all the signs, 

Of poets rais'd by you, and stasesmen, and divines. 

Peace to them all 1 those brilliant times are fled, 

And no such lights are kindling in their stead. 

Our striplings shine, indeed, but with such rays, 

As set the midnight riot in a blaze ; 

And seem, if judg'd by their expressive looks, 

Deeper in none than in their surgeon's books. 

Say, muse, (for education made the song, 
No muse can hesitate or linger long ) 
What causes move us, knowing, as we must, 
That these menagerhs all fail their trust, 
To send our sons to scout and scamper there. 
While colts and puppies cost us so much care ? 
Be it a weakness, it deserves some praise ; 
We love the play-place of our early days— 
The scene is touching, and the heart is stone 
That feels not at that sight, and feels at none. 
The wall on which we tried our graving skill, 
The very name we carv'd subsisting still ; 
The bench on which we sat while deep employed, 
Though mangled, hackM, and hew'd, not yet de- 
The little ones, unbutton'd, glowing hot, [[stroy'd : 
Playing our games, and on the very spot ; 
As happy as we once, to kneel and draw 
The chalky ring, and knuckle down at taw;. 

VOL, II. s 



20() TIROCINIUM. 

To pitch the ball into the grounded hat, 

Or drive it devious with a dexterous pat--* 

The pleasing spectacle at once excites 

Such recollection of our ovim delights, 

That, viewing it, we seem almost t' obtain 

Our innocent sweet simple years again, 

This fond attachment to the wtII known place. 

Whence first we started into life's long race. 

Maintains its hold with such unfailing sway. 

We feel it even in age, and at our latest day. 

Hark ! how the sire of chits, whose future share 

Of classic food begins to be his care, 

With his own hkeness placM on either knee. 

Indulges all a father's heart-felt glee ; 

And tells them, as he strokes their silver locks, 

That they must soon learn Latin, and to box ; 

Then, turning, he regales his listening wife 

With all th' adventures of his early life ; 

His skill in coachmanship, or driving chaise, 

In bilking tavern bills, and spouting plays ; 

What shifts he us'd, detected in a scrape. 

How he was floggM, or had the luck t' escape ; 

What sums he lost at play, and how he sold 

Watch, seals, and all-^till all his pranks are tcld^ 

Retracing thus h\s frolics ('tis a name 

That palliates deeds of folly and of shame) 

He gives the local bias all its sway ; 

P "solves that where he play'd his sons shall play, 

>i d destines their bright genius to be si:/ wn 
just in the scene where he displayed hi^rown. 



i-mociNiuM. 207 

The meek and bashful boy will soon be taught 

To be as bold and forward as he ought ; 

The rude will scuffle through with ease eiK)ugh, 

Great schools suit best the sturdy and the rough. 

Ah, happy designation, prudent choice, 

Th' event is sure, expect it, and rejoice ! 

Soon see your wish fultill'd in either child — • 

The pert made perter, and the tame made wild* 

The great, indeed, by titles, riches, birth, 

ExcusM th' incumbrance of more solid worth. 

Are best disposed of where with most success 

They may acquire that confident address. 

Those habits of profuse and lewd expense, 

That scorn of all delights but those of sense, 

Which, though in plain plebeians we condemn, 

With so much reason all expect from them. 

But families of less illustrious fame, 

Whose chief distinction is their apotless name, 

Whose heirs, their honours none, their income small, 

Must shine by true desert, or not at all — 

What dream they of. that with so little care 

They risk their hopes, their dearest treasure, there ? 

They dream of little Charles or William grac'd 

With wig prolix, down-flowing to his waist ; 

They see th' attentive crowds his talents draw. 

They hear him speak— the oracle of law ! 

The father who designs his babe a priest, 

Dreams him episcopally such at least ; 

And, while the playful jockey scours the room 

Briskly, astride upon the parlour broom, 



20S 



TIROCINIUM. 



In fancy sees him more superbly ride 

In coach with purple linM, and mitres on its side. 

Events hnprobable and strange as these, 1 

Which only a parental eye foresees, > 

A pubHc school shall bring to pass with ease, 3 

But how ? resides such virtue in that air 

As must create an appetite for prayer ? 

And will it bi-eathe into him all the -^eal 

That candidates for such a prize should feel. 

To take the lead, and be the foremost still 

In all true worth and literary skill ? 

'* Ah, Wind to bright futurity, untaught 

*< The knowledge of the world, and dull of thougkt t 

** Church ladders are not always mounted best 

** By learned clerks and Latinists profess'd. 

** Th' exalted prize demands an upward look, 

•* Not to be found by poring on a book. 

•* Small skill in Latin, and still less in Greek, 

^* Is more than adequate to all I seek. 

** Let erudition grace him or not grace, 

** I give the bawble but the second place ; 

** His wealth, fame, honours, all that I intend, 

** Subsist and centre in one point — a friend ! 

^ A friend, whate'er he studies or neglects, 

* Shall give him consequence, heal all defects. 

" His intercourse with peers, and sons of peers-^ 

^ There dawns the splendour of his future years ; 

** In that bright quarter his propitious skies 

** Shall blush betimes, and there his glory rise. 



-I 



TIROCINIUM. 209 

" Tour Lordships and -Tour Grace I what school can 

teach 
** A rhetoric equal to those parts of speech \ 
** What need of Homer's verse or Tally's prose, 
" Sweet interjections ! if he learn but those ? 
*• Let reverend churls his ignorance rebuke, 
** Who starve upon a dog's-ear'd Pentateuch, 
" The Parson knows enough who knows a duke,' 
Egregious purpose ! worthily begun 
In barbarous prostitution of your son ; 
Pressed on his part by means that would disgrace 
A scrivener's clerk or footman out of place. 
And ending, if at last its end be gain'd. 
In sacrilege, in God's own house profan'd ! 
It may succeed ; and, if his sins should call 
For more than common punishment, it shall ; 
The wretch shall rise, and be the thing on earth 
Least qualified in honour, learning, worth, 
To occupy a sacred, awful post, 
In which the best and worthiest tremble most. 
The royal letters are a thing of course — 
A king, that would, might recommend his horse ; * 
And deans, no doubt, and chapters with one voice, 
As bound in duty, would confirm the choice. 
Behold your bishop ! well he plays his pait — 
Christian in name, and infidel in heart, 
Ghostly in office, earthly in his plan, 
A slave at court, elsewhere a lady's man ! 
Dumb as a senator, and, as a priest, 
A piece of mere church- furniture at best ; 
s 2 



210 TIROCINIUM. 

To live estranged from God his total scope. 

And his end sure without one glimpse of hope \ 

But, fair although, and feasible it seem, 

Depend not much upon your golden dream ; 

For Providence, that seems concern'd t' exempt 

Tlie hallow'd bench from absolute contempt, 

In spite of all the wrigglers into place, 

Still keeps a seat or two for worth and grace j 

And therefore 'tis, that, though the sight be rare. 

We sometimes see a Lowth or Bagot there. 

Besides, school-friendships are not always found, 

Though fair in promise, permanent and sound ; 

The most disinterested and virtuous minds. 

In early years connected, time unbinds ; 

New situations give a different cast 

Of habit, inclination, temper, taste ; 

And he, that seemM our counterpart at first, 

Soon shows the strong similitude reversM, 

Young heads are giddy, and young hearts are warna, 

And make mistakes for manhood to reform. 

Boys are at best but pretty buds unblown. 

Whose scent and hues are rather guess'dthan knows 5 

Each dreams that each is just what he appears, 

But learns his error in maturer years. 

When disposition, like a sail unfurPd, 

Shows all its rents and patches to the world. 

If therefore, even when honest in design, 

A boyish friendship may so soon decline, 

'Twere wiser, sure, t' inspire a little heart 

With just abhorrence of so mean a part, 



tir:ocinium. gfi 

Than set your son to work at a vile trade 
For wages so unlikely to be paid. 

Our public hives of puerile resort, 
That are of chief and most approved report. 
To such base hopes, in many a sordid soul. 
Owe their repute in part, but not the whole. 
A principle, whose proud pretensions pass 
Unquestion'd, though the jewel be but glass-— 
That with a world, not often over-nice. 
Ranks as a virtue, and is yet a vice ; 
Or rather a gross compound, justly tried. 
Of envy, hatred, jealousy, and pride- 
Contributes most perhaps t' enhance their fame ; 
And EMULATION in its specious name. 
Boys, once on Sre with that contentious zeal. 
Feel all the rage that female rivals feel ; 
The prize of beauty in a woman's eyes 
Not brighter than in theirs the "scholar's prize. 
The spirit of that competition burns 
With all varieties of ill by turns ; 
Each vainly magnifies his own success, 
Resents his fellow's, wishes it were less, 
Exults in his miscarriage if he fail, 
Deems his reward too great if he prevail, 
And labours to surpass him day and night. 
Less for improvement than to tickle spite. 
The spur is powerful, and I grant its force ; 
It pricks the genius forward in its course, 
Allows short time for play, and none for sloth ; 
And, felt alike by each, advances both^ 



212 TIROCINIUM. 

But judge, where so much evil intenrenes. 
The end, though plausible, not v/orth the means. 
Weigh, for a moment, classical desert 
Against a heart deprav*d and temper hurt ; 
Hurt, too, perhaps for life ; for early wrong, 
Done to the nobler part, affects it long ; 
And you are staunch indeed in learning's cause, 
If you can crown a discipHne that draws 
Such mischiefs after it with much applause. 

Connexion form'd for interest, and endeared 
By selfish views, thus censured and cashiered ; 
And emulation, as engendering hate, 
Doom'd to a no less ignominious fate ; 
The props of such proud seminaries fall. 
The Jachin and the Boaz of them all. 
Great schools rejected, then, as those that swell 
Beyond a size that can be managed well, 
Shall royal institutions miss the bays, 
And small academies win all the praise ? 
Force not my drift beyond its just intent, 
I praise a school as Pope a government 5 
So take my judgment in his language dress'd— 
•^ Whate'er is best administer'd is best.'* 
Few boys ar^e born with talents that excel. 
But all are capable of living well ; 
Then ask not. Whether limited or large ? 
But, Watch they strictly, or neglect their charge ? 
If anxious only that their boys may karn^ 
While morals languish, a despis'd concern^ 



! 



TtROGlNIVM. gig 

The great and small deserve one common blame, 
Different in size but in effect the same. 
Much zeal in virtue's cause all teachers boast, 
Though motives of mere lucre &vvay the most ; 
Therefore in towns and cities they abound, 
For there the game they seek is easiest found ; 
Though there, in spite of all that care can do. 
Traps to catch youth are most abundant too. 
If shrewd, and of a well-constructed brain ^ 
Keen in pursuit, and vigorous to retain^ 
Your son come forth a prodigy of skill ; 
As, wheresoever taught, so formed, he will ; 
The pedagogue, with self-complacent air, 
Claims more than half the praise as his due share* 
But, if, with all his genius, he betray. 
Not more intelligent than loose and gay. 
Such vicious habits as disgrace his name. 
Threaten his health, his fortune, and his fame ; 
Though want of due restraint alone have bred 
The symptoms that you see with so much dread ^ 
Unenvied there, he may sustain alone 
The whole reproach— the fault was all his own ! 

Oh 'tis a sight to be with joy perus'd. 
By whom all sentiment has not abus'd ; 
New-fangled sentiment, the boasted grace 
Of those who never feel in the right place ; 
A sight surpass'd by none that we can show 
Though Vestris on one leg still shine below ; 
A father blest with an ingenuous son-— 
Father, and friend, and tutor, all in one. 



ut. 



TIROCINIUM. 



How !— turn again to tales long since forgot, 

-/Esop, and Phaedrus, and the rest ? — Why not ? 

He will not blush, that has a father's heart, 

To take in childish plays a childish part : 

But bends his sturdy back to any toy 

That youth takes pleasure in, to please his boy : 

Then why resign into a stranger's hand 

A task as much within your own command, 

That God and nature, and your interest too, 

Seem with one voice to delegate to you ? 

Why hire a lodging in a house unknown 

For one whose tenderest thoughts all hover round your 

own ? 
Tills second weaning, needless as it is, 
How does it lacerate both your heart and hisi 
Th' indented stick, that loses day by day 
Notch after notch, till all are smoothed away, 
Bears witness, long ere his dismission come, 
With what intense desire he wants his home. 
But, though the joys he hopes beneath your roof 
Bid fair enough to answer in the proof, 
Harmless, and safe, and natural, as they are, 
A disappointment waits him even there : 
Arriv'd, he feels an unexpected change ; 
He blushes, hangs his head, is shy and strange. 
No longer takes, as once with fearless ease, 
His favorite stand between his father's knees, 
But seeks the corner of some distant seat. 
And eyes the door, and watches a retreat, 
And, least familiar where he should be most, 
Feels all his happiest privileges lost* 



TIROCINIUM. 215 

Alas, poor boy ! — the natural effect 

Of love by absence chilPd into respect. 

Say, what accomplishments, at school acquired, 

Brings he, to sweeten fruits so undesir'd i 

Thou well deserv'st an alienated son. 

Unless thy conscious heart acknowledge — none ; 

None that, in thy domestic snug recess, 

He had not made his own with more address. 

Though some perhaps that shock thy feeling mind, 

And better never learn'd, or left behind. 

Add too, that thus estrang'd, thou canst obtain 

By no kind arts his confidence again ; 

That here begins with most that long complaint, 

Of filial frankness lost, and love grown faint, 

Which, oft neglected, in lifers waning yeajTS 

A parent pours into regardless ears. 

Like caterpillars, dangling under trees 
By slender threads, and swinging in the breeze, 
Which filthily bewray and sore disgrace 
The boughs in which are bred th' unseemly race ; 
While every worm industriously weaves 
And winds his web about the rivelPd leaves ; 
80 numerous are the follies that annoy 
The mind and heart of every sprightly boy ; 
Imaginations noxious and perverse. 
Which admonition can alone disperse. 
Th' encroaching nuisance asks a faithful hand, 
Patient, affectionate, of high command. 
To check the procreation of a breed 
Sure to exhaust the plant on which they feed. 



^sm 



TIROCINIUM. 



'Tis not enough that Greek or Roman page. 

At stated hours, his freakish thoughts engage ; 

Even 'in his pastimes he requires a friend, 

To warn, and teach him safely to unbend. 

O'er all his pleasures gently to preside, 

Watch his emotions, and control their tide ; 

And, levying thus, and with an easy sway, 

A tax of profit from his very play, 

T* impress a value, not to be eras'd, 

On moments squander'd else, and running all to 

waste. 
And seems it nothing in a father's eye, 
That, unimprov'd, those many moments fly ? 
And is he well content his son should find 
No nourishment to feed his growing mind 
But conjugated verbs and nouns declinM ? 
For such is all the mental food purveyed 
By pubUc hacknies in the schooling trade ; 
Who feed a pupil's intellect with store 
Of syntax, truly, but with little more ; 
Dismiss their cares when they dismiss their flock — 
Machines themselves, and govern'd by a clock. 
Perhaps a father, blest with any brains. 
Would deem it no abuse, or waste of pains, 
T' improve this diet, at no great expense, 
With savory truth, and wholesome common sense ; 
To lead his son, for prospects of delight, 
To some not steep, though philosophic, height, 
Thence to exhibit to his wondering eyes 
YoD circling worlds, their distance, and their size. 



■ J 



TlR^CiNiUM. 21-7 

The moons of Jove, and Saturn's belted ball, 

And the harmonious order of them all ; 

To show him, in an insect or a flower, 

Such microscopic proof of skill and power. 

As, hid from ages past, God now displays 

To combat atheists with in modern days ; 

To spread the earth before him, and commend^ 

With designation of the finger's end, 

its various parts to his attentive note. 

Thus bringing home to him the most remote ; 

To teach his heart to glow with generous flame, 

Caught from the deeds of men of ancient fame ; 

And, more than all, with commendation due, 

To set some living worthy in his view, 

Whose fair example may at once inspire 

A wish to copy what he must admire. 

Such knowledge, gained betimes, and which appears, 

Though solid, not too weighty for his years, 

Sweet in itself, and not forbidding sport. 

When htralth demands it, of athletic sort, 

Would make him — what some lovely boys have been, 

And more than one, perhaps, that I have seen — 

An evidence and reprehension both 

Of the mere scliool^boy's lean and tardy growth.. 

Art thou a man professionally tied, 
With all thy faculties elsewhere applied^ 
Too busy to intend a meaner care. 
Than how t* enrich thyself, and next thine heir ? 
Or art thou (as, though rich, perhaps thou art) 
But poor in knowledge, having none t' impart ^— 

VOL. II. T 



218 



TIROCINIUM, 



Behold that figure, neat, though plainly clad ; 

His sprightly mingled with a shade of sad ; 

Not of a nimble tongue, though now and then 

Heard to articulate like other men ; 

No jester, and yet lively in discourse, 

His phrase well chosen, clear, and full of force ; 

And his address, if not quite French in ease. 

Not English stiff, but frank, and formM to please ; 

Low in the world, because he scorns its arts ; 

A man of letters, manners, morals, parts ; 

Unpatroniz'd, and therefore little known ; 

Wise for himself and h:s few friends along?— 

In him thy well-appointed proxy see, 

Arm'd for a work too difficult for thee $ 

Prepar'd by taste, by learning, and true worth. 

To form thy son, to strike his genius forth ; 

Beneath thy roof, beneath thine eye, to prove 

The force of dicipline when back'd by love ; 

To double all thy pleasure in thy child, 

His mind informed, his morals undefil'd. 

Safe under such a wing, the boy shall show 

No spots contracted among grooms below. 

Nor taint his speech with meannesses, designed 

By footman Tom for witty and refined. 

There, in his commerce with the liv'ried herd, 

Lurks the contagion chiefly to be fear'd j 

For, since (so fashion dictates ) all, who claim 

A highei than a mere plebeian fame, 

Find it expedient, come what mischief may^ 

To entertain a thief or two in pay. 



TIROCINIUM. 219 

(And they that can aftord th' expense of more, 

♦Some half a dozen, and some half a score) 

Great cause occurs to save hLn from a band 

So sure to spoil him, and so near at hand j 

A point secur'd, if once he be supplied 

With some such Mentor always at his side. 

Are such men rare ? perhaps they would abound 

Were occupation easier to be found. 

Were education, else so sure to fail, 

Conducted on a manageable scale, 

And schools, that have outliv'd all just esteem. 

Exchanged for the secure domestic scheme.— 

But, having found him, be thou duke or earl, 

Sho\T thou hast sense enough to prize the pearl. 

And, as thou vvould'st th' advancement of thine heir 

In all good faculties beneath his care, 

Respect, as is but rational and just, 

A man deem'd worthy of so dear a trust. 

Despis'd by thee, what more can he expect 

From youthful folly than the same neglect ? 

A flat and fatal negative obtains. 

That instant, upon all his future pains ; 

His lessons tire, his mild rebukes offend. 

And all th' instructions of thy son's best friend 

Are a stream chok'd, or trickhng to no end. 

Doom him not then to solitary meals ) 

But recollect that he has sense, and feeli j 

And that, possessor of a soul refin'd. 

An upright heart, and cultivated mind. 



i 



236 TiRociNrtJM. 

His post not mean, his talents not unknown^ 
He deems it hard to vegetate alone. 
And, if admitted at thy board he sit, 
Account him no just mark for idle wit ; 
Offend not him, whom modesty restrains 
From repartee, with jokes that he disdains ; 
Much less transfix his feelings with an oath ; 
Nor frown, unless he vanish with the cloth. — 
And, trust me, his utility may reach 
To more than he is hir'd or bound to teach ; 
Much trash unutter*d, and some ills undone. 
Through leverence of the Censor of thy son. 

But, if thy table be indeed unclean, 
Foul with excess, and with discourse obscene, 
And thou a wretch, whom, following h^r old plan^ 
The world accounts an honourable man, 
Because forsooth thy courage has been tried 
And stood the test, perhaps on the wrong side ; 
Though thou hadst never grace enough to prove 
That any thing but vice could win thy love ; — - 
Or hast thou a polite, card-playing wife, 
Chain'd to the routs that she frequents for life j 
Who just when industry begins to snore, 
Tlies, wing'd with joy, to some coach^crowded door ij 
And thrice in every winter throngs thine own 
With half the chariots and sedans in town, 
Thyself meanwhile e'en shifting as thou may'st ; 
Not very sober though, not very chaste ; 
Or is thine house, though less superb thy rank. 
If not a scene of pleasure, a mere blank, 



TIC^OCIMIUM* 2Sth 

And thou at best, and in thy soberest mood, 
A trifler vain, and empty of all good ; 
Though mercy for thyself thou canst have none. 
Hear nature plead, show mercy to thy son. 
Sav'd from his home, where every day brings forth 
Some mischief fatal to his future woith, 
Find him a better in a distant spot. 
Within some pious pastor's humble cot, 
Where vile example (yours I chiefly mean, 
The most seducing and the oftenest seen) 
May never more be stamp *d upon his breast, 
Nor yet perhaps incurably impress'd : 
Where early rest makes early rising sure. 
Disease or comes not, or finds easy cure, 
Prevented much by diet neat and plain]; 
Or,if it enter, soon starved out again : — 
Where all th' attention of his faithful host. 
Discreetly limited at two at most, 
May raise such fruits as shall reward his care,. 
And not at last evaporate in air :— i 
Where stillness aiding study, and his mind 
Serene, and to his duties much inclined. 
Not occupied in day-dreams, as at home, 
Of pleasures past, or follies yet to come, 
His virtuous toil may terminate at last 
In settled habit and decided taste. — 
But whom do I advise ? the fashion-led, 
Th' incorrigibly wrong, the deaf, the dead i 
Whom care and cool deliberation suit 
Not better much than spectacles a brute ; 
t2 



TIR0C1R1VW. 

Who, if their sons some slight tuition sharr, 

Deem it of no great moment whose, or wliere ; 

Too proud t' adopt the thoughts of one unkuowiv. 

And much too gay t* have any of their own. 

But courage, man I methought the muse replied. 

Mankind are various, and the world is wide : 

The ostrich, silliest of the feathered kind, 

And formed of God without a parent's mind. 

Commits her eggs, incautious to the dust. 

Forgetful that the foot may crush the trust ; 

And, while on pubHc nurs'ries they rely, 

Not knowing, and too oft not caring, why. 

Irrational in what they thus prefer. 

No few, that would seem wise, resemble her. 

But all are not alike. Thy warning voice 

May here and there prevent erroneous choice ; 

And some, perhaps, who, busy as they are, 

Yet make their progeny their dearest care, 

(Whose hearts will ache, once told what ilia may 

reach 
Their offspring, left upon so wild a beach) 
Will need no stress of argument t' enforce 
Th' expedience of a less adventurous course : 
The rest will slight thy council, or condemn j 
But they have human feelings— turn to them. 

To you, then, tenants of life's middle state. 
Securely plac'd between the small and great, 
Whose character, yet undebauch'd, retains 
Two thirds of all the virtue that remains. 



TiaociMiUM. 22$ 

Who, wise yourselves, desire your sons should learH 
Your wisdom and your ways — to you I turn. 
Look round you on a world perversely blind ; 
See-^vhat contempt is fall'a on human kind ; 
See wealth abusM, and dignities misplac'd. 
Great titles, offices, and trusts disgracM, 
Long lines of ancestry, renown*d of old, 
Their noble qualities all quench'd and cold ; 
See Bedlam's closetted and hand-cufF'd charge 
Surpass'd in frenzy by the mad at large ; 
See great commanders making war a trade, 
Great lawyers, lawyers without study made j 
Churchmen, in whose esteem their blest employ 
Is odious, and their wages all their joy. 
Who, far enough from furnishing their shelves^ 
With gospel lore, turn infidels themselves ; 
See womanhood despis'd, and manhood sham'd 
With infamy too nauseous to be namM, 
Fops at all corners, lady-hke in mien, 
Civeted fellows, smelt ere they are seen, 
Else coarse and rude in manners, and their tongue 
On fire with curses, and with nonsense hung. 

Now flushM with drunkenness, now with whoredom 

pale, 
Their breath a sample of last night's regale ; 
See volunteers in all the vilest arts. 
Men well endowed of honourable parts, 
Design 'd by nature wise, but self-made fools ;— 
All these, and more like these, were bred at schools I 



SSt TIHOCINIlfM. 

And, if It chance, as sometimes chance it will. 
That, though school-bred, the boy be virtuous still ^ 
Such rare exceptions, shining in the dark. 
Prove, rather than impeach, the just remark : 
As here and there a twinkhng star descried. 
Serves but to show how black is all beside* 
Now look on him, whose very voice in tone 
Just echoes thine, whose features are thine o\\^. 
And stroke his polishM cheek of purest red. 
And lay thine hand upon his flaxen heady 
And say — my boy, th* unwelcome hour is come. 
When thou, transplanted from thy genial home. 
Must find a colder soil and bleaker air. 
And trust for safety to a stranger's care ; 
What character, what turn thou wilt assume 
From constant converse with I know not whom ; 
Who there will court thy friendship, with what viewe^ 
And, artless as thou art, whom thou wilt choose ; 
Though much depends on what thy choice shall be> 
Is all chance-medley, and unknown to mr.— 
Canst thou, the tear just trembling on thy lids, . 
And while the dreadful risk foreseen forbids j 
Free, too, and under no constraining force. 
Unless the sway of custom warp thy course ; 
Lay such a stake upon the losing side, 
Merely to gratify so blind a guide ? 
Thou canst not I Nature, pulling at thine heart, 
Condemns th' unfatherly, th' impiaident part. 
Thou would^st not, deaf to nature's tenderest plea, 
Turn him adrift upon a rolling sea, 



TIKOCINIUI^, ^S^. 

Nor say, Go ihUher^ conscious that there lay 

A brood of asps, or quicksands in his way ; 

Then, only govern'd by the self-same rule 

Of natural pity, send him not to school. 

J«fo — ^guard him better. Is he not thine own, 

Tayself in miniature, thy flesh, thy bone ? 

And hop'st thou not ('tis every father's hope) 

That, since thy strength must with thy years elope^ 

And thou wilt need some comfort to assuage 

Health's last farewel, a staff of thine old age, 

That then, in recompense of all thy cares, 

Thy child shall show respect to thy grey hairs^ 

Befriend thee, of all other friends bereft, 

And give thy life its only cordial left I 

Aware then how much danger intervenes. 

To compass that good end,, forecast the means^^ 

His heart, now passive, yields to thy command \ — - 

Secure it thine, its key is in thine hand. 

If thou desert thy charge, and throw it wide, 

Nor heed what guests there enter and abide,. 

Complain not if attachments lewd and base 

Supplant thee in it, and usurp thy place. 

But, if thou guard its sacred chambers sure 

From vicious inmates and delights impure, 

Either his gratitude shall hold him fast. 

And keep him warm and filial to the last ; 

Or, if he prove unkind (as who can sBy, 

But being man, and therefore frail, he may ?) 

One comfort yet shall cheer thine aged heart-— 

Howe'er he slight thee, thou hast done thy part. 



226 TIROCINIUM. 

Oh barbarous ! would^st thou with a Gothic hani 
Pull down the schools — what !— all the schools i' th' 

land ; 
Or throw them up to livery-nags and grooms, 
Or turn them into shops and auction rooms ? 
A captious question, Sir, (and yours is one) 
Deserves an answer similar, or none. 
Would'st thou, possessor of a flock, employ 
( ApprizM that he is such) a careless boy. 
And feed him well, and give him handsome pay, 
Merely to sleep, and let them run astray ? 
Survey our schools and colleges, and see 
A sight not much unlike my simile. 
From education, as the leading cause, 
The public character its colour draws : 
Thence the prevailing manners take their cast^ 
Extravagant or sober, loose or chaste. 
And, though I would not advertise them yet^ 
Nor write on each — This Building to be Lety 
Unless the world were all prepared t' embrace 
A plan well worthy to supply their place : 
Yet, backward as they are, and long have beea^ 
To cultivate and keep the morals clean, 
(Forgive the crime) I wish them, I confesa-. 
Or better manag'd, or encourag'd less. 



THE DOVES. 



I. 

REASONING at every step he tread«, 

Man yet mistakes his way, 
While meaner things whom instinct leads, 

Are rarely known to stray, 
II. 
One silent ere I wander 'd late. 

And heard the voice of love ; 
The turtle thus addressM her mate, 

And sooth'd the listening dove— 
III. 
Our mutual bond of faith and truth, 

No time shall disengage ; 
Those blessings of our early youth 

Shall cheer our latest 5ige ; 

IV. 

While innocence without disguise, 

And constancy sincere, 
Shall fill the circles of those eyes, 

And mine can read them there ; 

V. 

Those ills that wait on all below 

Shall ne'er be felt by me^ 
Or, gently felt, and only so, 

A% teing iharM with thee. 



228. A TABLE, 

TI. 

When liglitnings flash among the trees. 
Or kites are hovering near, 

1 fear lest thee alone they seize, 
And know no other fear. 

VII. 

^Tis then I feel myself a wife. 

And press thy wedded side, 
Resolv'd an union form'd for life 

Death never shall divide. 
Till. 
But oh ! if fickle and unchaste, 

( Forgive a tmnsient thought ) 
Thou could become unkind at last. 

And scorn thy present lot ; 

IX. 

No need of lightnings from on high, 

Or kites with cruel beak ; 
Denied th' endearments of thine eye. 

This widow'd heart would break. 

X. 

Thus sang the sweet sequester'd bird 

Soft as the passing wind, 
And I recorded what I heard — 

A lesson for mankind. 



A FABLE. 

A RAVEN, while with glossy breast 
Her new-laid eggs ^he fondly prcss'd, 



i 



! 



An3 on her wicker-work high mounted, 
She chickens prematurely counted, 
(A fault philosophers might blame, 
If quite exempted from the same) 
Enjoy 'd at ease the genial day, 
'Twas April, as the bumpkins say^ 
The legislature call'd it May. 
But suddenly a wind as high 
As ever swept a winter sky 
Shook the young leaves about her ears, 
And fiU'd her with a thousand fears, 
Lest the rude blast should snap the bough. 
And spread her golden hopes below. 
But, just at eve, the blowing weather. 
And all her fears were hush'd together : 
And now, quoth poor unthinking Ralph, 
'Tis over, and the brood is safe ; 
( For Ravens, though, as birds of omen. 
They teach both conjurers and old women 
To tell us what is to befall. 
Can't prophesy themselves at all.) 
The morning came, when neighbour Hodg», 
Who long had mark'd her airy lodge, 
And destin'd all the treasure there 
A gift to his expecting fair, 
Climb'd like a squirrel to his dray. 
And bore the worthless prize away, 

MOHAL. 

^Tis Providence alone secures. 

In every change, both mine and yours J 

VOL, II. U 



230 A COMPARISON. 

Safety consists not in escape 
From dangers of a frightful shape ; 
An earthquake may be bid to spare 
The man that's strangled by a hair. 
Fate steals along with silent tread. 
Found oftenest in what least we dread> 
Frowns in the storm with angry brow. 
But in the sun-shine strikes the blow. 



A COMPARISON. 

THE lapse of time and rivers is the same ; 
Both speed their journey with a restless stream $ 
The silent pace with w^hich they steal away 
No wealth can bribe, no prayers persuade to stay ; 
Alike irrevocable both when past, 
And a wide ocean swallows both at last. 
Though each resemble each in every part, 
A difference strikes at length the musing heart ; 
Streams never flow in vain ; where streams abound. 
How laughs the land with various plenty crown'd ! 
But time, that should enrich the nobler mind, 
Neglected, leaves a dreary w^aste behind. 



ANOTHER. 

ADDRESSED TO A YOUNG LADY.. 

SWEET stream that v^inds through yonder glade, 
Apt emblem of a virtuous maid-— 



YIRSES BY ALEXANDER SSLKIR.IC. ^31 

Silent and chaste she steals along, 
Far from the world's gay busy throng, 
With gentle, yet prevailing force, 
Intent upon her destin'd course 5 
Graceful and useful all she does, 
Blessing and bless*d where'er she goes, 
Pure-bosom*d as that watery glass, 
And heaven reflected in her face* 



VERSES 

SUPPOSED TO BE WRITTEN BY ALEXANDER SBLXIR«y 

DURING HIS SOLITARY ABODE IN THB 

ISLAND OF JUAN FERNANDEZ. 

I* 

I AM monarch of all I survey, 

My right there is none to dispute ; 
From the centre all round to the sea, 

I am lord of the fowl and the brute. 
Oh, solitude ! where are the charms 

That sages have seen in thy face ? 
Better dwell in the midst of alarms. 

Than reign in this horrible place. 
II. 
I am out of humanity's reach, 

I must finish my journey alone, 
Never hear the sweet music of speech 5 

I start at the sound of my own. 
The beasts, that roam over the plain, 

My form with indiilerence see j 



292 VERSBS BY ALEXANDER SELKIRK. 

They are so unacquainted with man, 

Their lameness is shocking to me. 
iti. 
Society, friendship, and love, 

Divinely bestow'd upon man, 
Oh, had I the wings of a dove. 

How soon would I taste you again t 
My sorrows I then might assuage 

In the ways of rehgion and truth. 
Might learn from the wisdom of age, 

And be checr'd by the sallies of youth. 

IV. 

Religion ! what treasure untold 

Resides in that heavenly word I 
More precious than silver and gold, 

Or all that this earth can afford. 
But the sound of the church-going bell 

These valhes and rocks never heard, 
Ne'er sigh'd at the sound of a knell,. 

Or smil'd when a sabbath appeared. 

V. 

Ye winds, that have made me your sport, 

Convey to this desolate shore 
Some cordial endearing report 

Of a land I shall visit no more. 
My friends, do they now and then send 

A wish or a thought after me ? 
O tell me 1 yet have a friend. 

Though a friend I am never to see.^ 



ON £. THURLOW,ES$. 2^5 

.VI. 

How fleet is a glance of the mind ! 

Compared with the speed of its flight, 
The tempest itself lags behind, 

And the swift winged arrows of light. 
When I think of my own native land, 

In a moment I seem to be there ; 
But alas ! recollection at hand 

Soon hurries me back to despair. 

VII. 

But the sea-fowl is gone to her nest, 

The beast is laid down in his lair, 
Even here is a season of rest, 

And I to my cabin repair. 
There's mercy in every place ; 

And mercy, encouraging thought ! 
Gives even affliction a grace, 

And reconciles man to his lot. 



ON THE 

PROMOTION 

OF EDWARD THURLOW ESQ. 
TO THE LORD HIGH CHANCELLORSHIP OF ENGLAND. 

I. 

ROUND Thurlow's head, in early youth. 

And in his sportive days. 
Fair science pour'd the light of truth, 

And genius shed his rays, 
u 2 



2S4! «BE TO PEACE. 

II. 

See ! with united wonder, cried 

Th* experienced and the sage> 
Ambition in a boy supplied 

With all the skill of age I 
III. 
Discernment, eloquence, and graccr 

Proclaim him born to sway 
The balance in the highest place. 

And bear the palm away. 

IV, 

The praise bestowM was just and wise 5 
He sprang impetuous forth, 

Secure of conquest where the prize 
Attends superior worth, 

V. 

So the best courser on the plain 
Ere yet he starts is known, 

And does but at the goal obtain 
What all had deem'd his^own. 



ODE TO PEACE, 

I. 

COME, peace of mind, delightful guest, 
Return and make thy downy nest 

Once more in this sad heart ! 
Nor riches I, nor power pursue, 
Nor hold forbidden joys in view; 

We therefore need not part. 



HUMAN F&AlIrTY. 

Where wlit thou dwell, if not with mc» 
From avarice'atid ambition free, 

And pleasure's fatal wiles ? 
For whom, alas ! dost thou prepare 
The sweets that I was wont to share, 

The banquet of thy smiles i 
111. 
The great, the gay, shall they partake 
The heaven that thou alone canst maie? 

And wilt thou quit the stream 
That murmurs through the dewy mead. 
The grove and the sequester'd shade, 

To be a guest with them ? 

IV. 

For thee I panted, thee I priz'd. 
For thee I gladly sacrificed 

Whatever I lov'd before ; 
And shall I see thee start away. 
And, helpless, hopeless, hear thee say— 

Farewel ! we meet no more ? 



HUMAN FRAILTY. 

I. 

WEAK and irresolute is man 5 

The purpose of to-day. 
Woven with pains into his plan. 

To-morrow rends away. 



536 THE MODERN PATRIOT. 

11. 

The bow^ well bent, and smart t^e spring, 

Vice seems already slain ; 
But passion rudely snaps the string, 

And it revives again, 
in. 
Some foe to his upright intent 

Finds out his weaker part i 
Virtue engages his assent. 

But pleasure wins his heart. 

IV, 

'Tis here the folly of the wise 
Through all his art we view ; 

And, while his tongue the charge denies^ 
His conscience owns it true. 

V. 

Bound on a voyage of awful length 

And dangers little known, 
A stranger to superior strength> 

Man vainly trusts his own. 

VI, 

But oars alone can ne'er prevail 

To leach the distant coast, 
The breath of heaven must awell the sail. 

Or all the toil is lost. 



THE MODERN PATRIOT. 

I. 

REBELLION is my theme all day ; 
I only wish 'twould come 



THE MODERN PATRIOT. 

(As who knows but perhaps k may ?) 

A little nearer home. 
II. 
Yon roaring boys, who rave and fight 

On t' other side th' Atlantic, 
I always held them in the right, 

But most so when most frantic.^ 
III. 
When lawless mobs insult the court, 

That man shall be my toast, 
If breaking windows be the sport, 

Who bravely breaks the most. 

But, oh ] for him my fancy culls 
The choicest flowers she bears,. 

Who constitutionally pulls 
Your house about your ears.. 

V. 

Such civil broils are my delight ; 

Though some folks can't endure 'em^ 
Who say the mob are mad outright, 

And that a rope must cure 'em. 

VI. 

A rope ! I wish we patriots had 
Such strings for all who need 'em— 
■ What ! hang a man for going mad i 
Then farewell British freedom* 



2S8 NAMES OF LITTLE NOTE. 

ON OBSERVING SOME 

NAMES OF LITTLE NOTE 

RECORDED IN THE BIOGRAPHIA BRITANNICA. 

OH, fond attempt to give a deathless lot 
To names ignoble, born to be forgot I 
In vain, recorded in historic page, 
They court the notice of a future age : 
Those twinkling tiny lustres of the land 
Drop one by one from fame's neglecting hand 1 
Lethaean gulfs receive them as they fall, 
And dark oblivion soon absorbs them all. 

So when a child, as playful children use. 
Has burnt to tinder a stale last year's news, 
The flame extinct, he views the roving fire—-- 
There goes my lady, and there goes the squire, 
There goes the parson, oh ! illustrious spark. 
And there, scarce less illustrious, goes the clerk ! 



\ 



\ 



REPORT 

©F AN ADJUDGED CASE NOT TO BE FOUND IN ANY 

OF THE BOOKS* 

I. 

BETWEEN Nose and Eyes a strange contest arose— 
The spectacles set them unhappily wrong ; 

The point in dispute was, as all the world knows, 
To which the said spectacles ought to belongs 
II. 

So tongue was the lawyer, and argued the cause 
With a great deal of skill, and a wig full of learning ;. 



REPORT OF AN ADJUDGED CASE. 239 

While chief baron Ear set to balance the laws. 
So fam'd for his talent in nicely discerning. 
III. 

In behalf of the Nose, it will quickly appear. 

And your lordship, he said, will undoubtedly find. 

That the Nose has had spectacles always in wear, 
Which amounts to possession time out of mind. 

IV. 

Then holding the spectacles up to the court— 
Your lordship observes they are made with a 
straddle. 

As wide as the ridge of the nose is ; in short, 
Designed to sit close to it, just like a saddle. 

V. 

Again, would your lordship a moment suppose 
('Tis a case that has happened, and may be again) 

That the visage or countenance had not a Nose I 
Pray who would, or who could, wear spectacles 
then ? 

VI. 

On the whole, it appears — and my argument showSf 
With a reasqning the court will never condemn. 

That the spectacles plainly were made for the Nose, 
And the Nose was as plainly intended for them. 

VII. 

Then, shifting his side, (as a lawyer knows how) 
He pleaded again in behalf of the Eyes : 

But what were his arguments few people know. 
For the court did not think they were equally wise. 



240 BURNING LORD MANSFIELD*S LIBRARY^ 

VI y. 

So his lordship decreed, with a grave solemn tone, 
Decisive and clear, without one if or but — > 

That, whenever the Nose put his spectacles on, 
By day-light or candle-light — Eyes should be shut ! 



ON THE BURNING OF 

LORD MANSFIELD^S LIBRARY, 

TOGETHER WITH HIS MSS. 

BY THE MOB, IN THE MONTH OF JUNE, 1780- 
1. 

SO then — the Vandals of our isle, 

Sworn foes to sense and law, 
Have burnt to dust a nobler pile 

Than ever Roman saw ! 
II. 
And Murray sighs o'er Pope and Swift, 

And many a treasure more, 
The well-judgM purchase and the gift 

That grac'dhis lettered store, 
III. 
T/:>eir pages mangled, burnt and torn, 

The loss was f}is alone ; 
But ages yet to come shall mourn 

The burning of his own. 



i 



ON THE SAME. 

I. 

WHEN wit and genius meet their doom 
In all-devouring flame, 



U?P0CRI8Y DETECTED* 241 

They tell us of the fate of Rome, 

And bid us fear the same. 
II. 
O'er Murray's loss the muses wept, 

They felt the rude alarm, 
Yet bless'd the guardian care that kept 

His sacred head from harm. 
in. 
There memory, like the bee that's fed 

From Florals balmy store, 
The quintessence df all he read 

Had treasured up before. 

IV. 

The lawless herd with fury blind, 

Have done him cruel wrong ; 
The flowers are gone ; but still we find 

The honey on his tongue. 



THE 

LOVE OF THE WORLD REPROVED ; 

OR, 

HYPOCRISY DETECTED.* 

THUS says the prophet of the Turk- 
Good mussulman abstain from pork ; 



* It may be proper to inform the reader that this piece has 
already appeared in print, haviag found its way, though with 
some unnecessary additions by an unknown hand, into the 
Leeds Journal, without ths author's ffivity. 
VOL. lU W 



24^ KtPOCRISY DETECTED. 

There is a part in every swine 
No friend or follower of mine 
May taste, whate'cr his inclination, 
On pain of excommunication. 
Such Mahomet's mysterious charge, 
And thus he left the point at large. 
Had he the sinful part expressed, 
They might vith safety eat the rest ; 
But for one piece they thought it hard 
From the whole hog to be debarred, 
And set their wit at work to find 
What joint the prophet had in mind. 
Much controversy straight arose — 
These choose the back, the belly those ; 
By some 'tis confidently said 
He m,eant not to forbid the head ; 
While others at that doctrine rail, 
And piously prefer the tail. 
Thus, conscience freed from every clog, 
Mahometans eat up the hog. 

You laugh — 'tis well — The tale applied 
May make you laugh on t'other side. 
Renounce the world — ^the preacher cries. 
We do— a multitude replies. 
While one as innocent regards 
A snug and friendly game at cards ; 
And one, whatever you may say. 
Can see no evil in a play ; 
Some love a concert or a race ; 
And others— shooting, and the chase* 



TWE LILY AND THE ROSB. 2iS 

Revird and lov'd, renounc'd and follow'd, 
Thus, bit by bit, the world is swallow M ; 
Each thinks his neighbour makes too free, 
Yet likes a slice as well as he ; 
With sophistry their sauce they sweeten. 
Till quite from tail to snout 'tis eaten. 



THE LILY AND THE ROSS, 

I. 

THE nymph must lose her female friend^ 

If more admir'd than she- — 
But where will fierce contention end, 

If flowers can disagree ? 

II. 

Within the garden's peaceful scene 

Appeared two lovely foes, 
Aspiring to the rank of qaeen-^*- 

The Lily and the Rose. 

III. 
The Rose soon redden'd into ragp. 

And, svTelling with disdain, 
Appeal'd to many a poet'? page 

To prove her right to reign, 

IV. 

The Lily's height bespoke command—- 

A fair imperial flower ; 
She seem'd de&ign'd for Flora's hand. 

The sceptre of her powef. 



244? IDEM LATINE REDDITUM* 

V. 

This civil bickering and debate 

The goddess chanc'd to hear, 
And flew to save, ere yet too late. 

The pride of the parterre — 
vr. 
Yours is, she said, the nobler hue^ 

And yours the statelier mien ; 
A nd till a third surpasses you. 

Let each be deem'd a queen. 
vii. 
Thus, soothM and reconcil'd, each seeks 

The fairest British fair ; 
The s«at of empire is her cheefcsj 

They reign united there. 



IDEM LATINE REDDITUM. 

I. 

HEU inimicitiae quoties parit aemula forma, 

Quam raro pulchrae, pulchra placere potest ! 
Sed fines ultra solitos discordia tendit. 

Cum flores ipsos bills et ira movent. 
II. 
Hortus ubi dulces praebet tacitosque recessfii, 

Se rap it in partes gens animosa duas ; 
Hie sibi regales Amaryllis Candida cultQ*, 

lUic purpureo yindicat ©re Rosa, 



IDEM LATINE REDDtTUM. 24f5 

III. 

Ira Rosam et meritis quxsita superbia tangunt, 
Multaqu^ ferventi vix cohibenda sinu, 

Dum sibi fautomm ciet undique nomina vatum, 
Jusque suum, multo carmine fulta, probat. 

IV. 

Altior emicat ilia, et celso vertice nutat, 

Ceil flores inter non habitura parem, 
Fastiditque alios, et nata videtur in usus 

Imperii, sceptrum, Flora quod ipsa gerat. 

V. 

Nee Dea non sensit civilis murmui-a rixas, 
Cui curse est pictas pandere ruris opes. 

Deliciasque suas nunquam non prompta tueri, 
Dum licet et locus est, ut tueatur, adest, 

VI. 

Et tibi forma datur procerior omnibus, inquit, 
Ettibi, principibus qui solet esse, color, 

Et donee vincat quaedam formosior ambas, 
Et tibi reginse nomen, et esto tibi. 

TII. 

His ubi sedatus furor est, petit utraque nympham, 
Qualcm inter Veneres Anglia sola parit ; 

Hanc penes imperium est, nihil optant amplius, Kujus 
Regnant in nitidis, et sine lite, geais. 



246 NIGHTINGALE AN9 GLCW-WO&M. 

TUS 

NIGHTINGALE AND GLOW-WORM. 

A NIGHTINGALE, that aU day long 
Had cheer'd the village with his song, 
Nor yet at eve his note suspended, 
Nor yet v^hen eventide was ended. 
Began to feel, as well he mighty 
The keen demands of appetite ; 
When, looking eagerly around. 
He spied, far oflF, upon th« ground, 
A something shining in the dark, 
And knew the Glow-Worm by his spark ; 
So, stooping down from hawthorn top, 
He thought to put him in his crop. 
The worm, aware of his intent, 
Harangu'd him thus, right eloquent— 

Did you admire my lamp, quoth he, 
As much as I your minstrelsy. 
You would abhor to do me wrong. 
As much as I to spoil your song ; 
For ^twas the self-same power divine 
Taught you to sing, and me to shine ; 
That you with music, I with light, 
Might beautify and cheer the night. 
The eongster heard his short oration. 
And, warbling out his approbation, 
Released him, as my story tells. 
And found a supper somewhere else. 



▼OTUM* 347 

Henee jarring sectaries may learR 
Their real interest to discern ; 
That brother should not war with brother. 
And worry and devour each other ; 
But sing and shine by sweet consent, 
Till life's poor transient night is spent;. 
Respecting in each other^s case 
The gifts, of nature and of grace. 

Those Christians best deserve the name 
Who studiously make peace their aim ; 
Peace, both the duty and the prize 
Of him that creeps and him that flies. 



VOTUM. 

G MATUTINI rores, auraeque salubres, 
O nemora, et laetse rivis felicibus herbx, 
Graminei coUes, et amxnse in vallibus umbrae i 
Fata modo dederint quas olim in rure paterno 
Delicias, procul arte, procul formidine, novi, 
Quam vellum ignotus, quod mens mea semper avebat, 
Ante larum proprkim placidam expectare senectam, 
Turn demum, exactis non infeliciter annis, 
Sortiri taciturn lapidem, aut sub cespite condi ! 



248 f INE-APPLS AND BEE. 

ON A GOLDFINCH 

STARVED TO DEATH IN HIS CAGE. 

TIME was when I was free as air, 
The thistle's downy seed my fare. 

My drink the morning dew ; 
T perch 'd at will on every spray, 
My form genteel, my plumage gay, 

My strains forever new. 

II. 
But gaudy plumage, sprightly strain. 
And form genteel, were all in vain. 

And of a transient date ; 
For, caught and cag'd, and starvM to death. 
In dying sighs my little breath 

Soon pass'd the wiry grate. 
III. 
Thanks, gently swain, for all my woe§. 
And thanks for this effectual close 

And cure of every ill ! 
More cruelty could none express ; 
And I, if you had shown me less. 

Had been your prisoner still. 



THE PINE-APPLE AND THE BEE, 

THE Pine-Apples, in triple row. 
Were basking hot, and all in blow ; 



PINE-APFLE AKB BE£« Si0 

A Bee of most discerning taste 
Perceiv'd the fragrance as he pass'd ; 
On eager wing the spoiler came, 
And search'd for crannies in the frame, 
Urg'd his attempt on every side. 
To every pane his trunk applied ; 
But still in vain, the frame was tight^ 
And only pervious to the light ; 
Thus having wasted half the day^ 
He trimm'd his flight another way. 

Methinks, I said, in thee I find 

The sin and madness of mankind. 

To joys forbidden man aspires, 

Consumes his soul with vain desires ; 

Folly the spring of his pursuit. 

And disappointment all the fruit. 

While Cynthio ogles as she passe* 

The nymph between two chariot glassei^ 

She is the Pine-Apple, and he 

The silly unsuccessful Bee, 

The maid, who views with pensive air 

The show glass fraught with glittering ware^ 

Sees watches, bracelets^ rings, and lockets. 

But sighs at thought of empty pockets ; 

Like thine, her appetite is keen, 

But ah, the cruel glass between ! 

Our dear delights are often such, 
Expos'd to view, but not to touch ; 
The sight our foolish heart inflames, 
Wc long for Pine- Applet in fraraei ; 



250 HORACE. BOOK II, ODE X. 

With hopeless wish one looks and lingers 
One breaks the glass, and cuts his fingers 
But they whom truth and wisdom lead, 
Can gather honey from a weed. 



HORACE. BOOK II. ODE X. 

I. 

RECEIVE, dear friend, the truths I teacB, 
So shalt thou live beyond the reach 

Of adverse fortune's power ; 
Not always tempt the distant deep. 
Nor always timorously creep 

Along the treacherous shore, 
II. 
He, that holds fast the golden mean. 
And lives contentedly between 

The little and the great, 
Feels not the wants that pinch the poor, 
Nor plagues that haunt the rich man's door, 

Imbittering all his state. 

IIK 

The tallest pines feel most the power 
Of wintry blasts ; the loftiest toweu 

Comes heaviest to the ground ; 
The bolts, that spare the mountain's sid?, 
His cloud-capt eminence divide. 

And spread the ruin round. 



JL REFLECTION. S£I 

IV* 

The well inform'd philosopher 
Rejoices "udth a wholesome fear, 

And hopes, in spite of pain ; 
If winter bellow from the north, 
Soon the sweet spring comes dancing forth, 

x^nd nature laughs again. 

V. 

What if thine heaven be overcast, 
The dark appearance will not last ; 

Expect a brighter sky. 
The God that strings the silver bow 
Awakes sometimes the muses too. 

And lays his arrows by. 

VI. 

If hindrances obstruct thy way, 
Thy magnanimity display, 

And let thy strength be seen : 
But oh ! if fortune fill thy sail 
tVith more than a propitious gale, 

Take half thy canvas in. 



A REFLECTION 

ON THE FOREGOING, ODE. 

AND Is this all ? Can reason do no more 
Than bid me shun the deep and dread the shore ? 
Sweet moralist I afloat on life's rough sea, 
The Chriftian has an art unknown to thee : 



252 THt GLOW-WORM. 

He holds no parley with unmanly fears ; 
Where duty bids he confidently steers. 
Faces a thousand dangers at her call, 
And, trusting in his God, surmounts tliem alL 

TRANSLATIONS FROM VINCENT BOURNE. 



J. THF GLOW-WORM. 
1. 

BENEATH the hedge, or near the stream, 

A worm is known to stray ; 
That shows by night a lucid beam, 

Which disappears by day. 
11. 
Disputes have been, and still prevail, 

From whence his rays proceed ; 
Some give that honour to his taii, 

And others to his head, 
III. 
But this is sure — the hand of might. 

That kindles up the skies, 
Gives him a modicum of light 

Proportioned to his size. 

IV. 

Perhaps indulgent nature mea^t. 

By such a lamp beetow'd, 
To bid the traveller, a* he went, 

Be careful where he trod : 



THE JACKDAW, 2S8 



Nor crush a worm, whose useful light 

Might serve, however small, 
To show a stumbHng stone by night, 
And save him from a fall. 

VI, 

Whatever she meant, this truth divint 

Is legible and plain, 
^Tis power almighty bids him shine, 

Nor bids him shine in vain. 

VII. 

Ye proud and wealthy, let this theme 
Teach humbler thoughts to youj 

Since such a reptile has its gem. 
And boasts its splendour too-. 



n. THE JACKDAW. 



THERE is a bird, who, by his coat, 
And by the hoarseness of his note, 

Might be suppos'd a crow ; 
A great frequenter of the church. 
Where, bishop-like, he finds a perch, 

And dormitory too. 

II. 
Above the steeple shines a plate. 
That turns and turns, to indicate 

From what points blows the weatheh 
Vol, II. X 



254 



THE JACKDAW. 



Look up — your brains begin to swim, 
^Tis in the clouds — that pleases him, 
He chooses it the rather, 

III. 
Fond of the speculative height, 
Thither he wings his airy flight, 

And thence securely sees 
The bustle and the raree-show 
That occupy mankind belo^v. 

Secure, and at his ease. 

IV. 

You think, no doubt, he sits and muse$ 
On future broken bones and bruises. 

If he should chance to fall. 
No ; not a single thought like that 
Employs his philosophic pate. 

Or troubles it at alL 

V. 

He sees, that this great roundabout— 
The world, with all its motley rout, 

Church, army, physic, law. 
Its customs and its businesses. 
Is no concern at all of his. 

And says — what says he ?— Caw, 
vi# 
Thrice happy bird ! I too have seep 
Much of the vanities of men ; 

And, wck of having seen *era^ 



THE CRICKBT. 255 



Would cheerfully these limbs resign 

Yov such a pair of wings as thine, 

And such a head between 'em. 



III. THE CRICKET- 



LITTLE inmate, full of mirtk, 
Chii-ping on my kitchen hearth, 
Wheresoe'er be thine abode. 
Always harbinger of good, 
Pay me for thy warm retreat 
With a song more soft and sweet ; 
In return thou shalt receive 
Such a strain as I can give. 
II. 

Thus thy praise shall be exprest, 
Inoffensive, welcome guest ! 
While the rat is on the scout. 
And the mouse with curious snout, 
With what vermin else infest 
Every dish, and spoil the best ; 
Frisking thus before the fire. 
Thou hast all thine heart's desire. 

III. 
Though in voice and shape they br 
Form'd as if akin to thee, 
Thou surpassest, happier far, 
Happiest grasshoppers that trt ; 



250 THE PARROT. 

Theirs is but a summer's song, 
Thine endures the winter long^ 
Unimpaired and shrill and clear. 
Melody throughout the year. 

IT. 

Neither night, nor dawn of day, 
Puts a period to thy play : 
Sing then — and extend thy span 
Far beyond the date of man. 
Wretched man, whose years are spen^ 
In repining discontent. 
Lives not, aged though he be. 
Half a span, compared with thee. 



IV. THE PARROT. 

I. 

IN painted plumes superbly drest, 
A native of the gorgeous east. 

By many a billow tost ; 
Poll gains at length the British shore. 
Part of the captain's precious store — 

A present to his toast. 

II. 
Belinda's maids are soon preferred 
To teach him now and then a word, 

As Poll can master it ; 
But 'tis her own important charge 
To qualify him more at large, 

And make him quite a wit. 



in. 

Sweet Poll I his doting mistress cries, 
Sweet Poll ! the mimic bird replies. 

And calls aloud for sack. 
She next instructs him in the kiss ; 
'Tis ROW a little one, like Miss^ 

And now a hearty smack. 

IT. 

At first he aims at what he hears ; 
And, listening close with both hi^ ears, 

Just catches at the sound ; 
Eut soon articulates aloud. 
Much to th' amusement of the crowd. 

And stuns the neighbours round. 

V, 

A querulous old woman's voice 
His humorous talent next employs- 
He scolds, and gives the lie. 
And now he sings, and now is sick- 
Here Sally, Susan, come, come quick j 
Poor Poll is Uke to die ! 

VI. 

Belinda and her bird ! 'tis rare 

To meet v ith such a well-match'd pair, 

The language and the tone, 
Each character in every part 
Sustained with so much grace and ivft^ 

And both ia unison, 
% 2 



25S THE SHRUBBjBRt. 

VII. 

When children first begin to spell, 
And stammer out a syllable. 

We think them tedious creatures ; 
But difficulties soon abate. 
When birds are to be taught to prate, 

And women are the teachers. 



THE SHRUBBERY. 

■WRITTEN IN A TIME OF AFFLICTION* 
I. 

OH, hap'py shades — to me unblest I 

Friendly to peace, but not to me ! 
How ill the scene that offers rest, 

And heart that cannot rest, agree I 
II. 
This glassy stream, that spreading pinc^ 

Those alders quivering to the breeze. 
Might sooth a soul less hurt than mine. 

And please, if any thing could pleascr 

ill. 
But fix'd unalterable care 

Foregoes not what ske feels within. 
Shows the same sadness every where, 

And slights the season and the scent . 

IT. 

For all that pleas'd in wood or lawn. 

While pe^e pog^sess'd tli^se siUnt bovvers^ 



MUTUAL FORBfiAftANC»^ 25f ' 

Her animating smile withdrawn, 
Has lost its beauties and its power«% 

V. 

The saint or moralist should tread 

This moss-grown alley, musing, slow 
T-hey seek, like me, the secret shade. 

But not, like me, no nourish woe I 

VJ. 

Me fruitful scenes and prospects waste 

Alike admonish not to roam ; 
These tell me of enjoyments past. 

And those of sorrows yet to come* 



MUTUAL FORBEARANCE 

NECESSARY TO THE HAPPINESS OF THE MARRIED 
STATE. 

THE lady thus addressed lier spouse--^. 
What a mere dungeon is this house ! 
By no means large enough ; and was it. 
Yet this dull room, and that dark closet— 
Those hangings, with their worn-out gracea. 
Long beards, long noses, and pale facea-*- 
Are such an antiquated scene, 
They overwhelm me with the §pleen ! 
Sir Humphrey, shooting in the dark, 
Makes answer quite beside the mark : 
No doubt, my dear, I bade him come, 
Engaged myself to be at home. 
And shall expect him at the door 
Precisely when the dock strikes foaif. 



SS9 UUTVAL VOKBElflLAHCE. 

You are so deaf, the lady cri«d, 
(And rais'd her voice, and frown'd beside) 
You are so sadly deaf, my dear, 
What shall I do to niake you hear i 

Dismiss poor Harry I he replies ; 
Some people are raore nice than wise— 
For one slight trespass all this stir i 
What if he did ride whip and spur, 
^Twas but a mile — your favorite horse 
Will never look one hair the worse. 

Well, I protest, 'tis past all bearing- 
Child ! I am rather hard of hearing- 
Yes, truly— -one must scream and bawl- 
tell you, you can't hear at all 1 
Then, with a voice exceeding low, 
No matter if you hear or no» 

Alas ! and is domestic strife, 
That sorest ill of human life, 
A plague so little to be fear'dj 
As to be wantonly incurred. 
To gratify a fretful passion. 
On every trivial provocation ? 
The kindest and the happiest pair 
Will find occasion to forbear ; 
And something, every day they lire, 
To pity, and, perhaps, forgive. 
But if infirmities that fall 
In coramDB to the lot of all— 



THE WINTEH NOSEGAY. 261 

A blemish or a sense impaired-*— 
Are crimes so little to be spar'd. 
Then farewel all that must create 
The comfort of the wedded state ; 
Instead of harmony, 'tis jar 
And tumult, and intestine war. 

The love that cheers life's latest stag*^ 
Proof against sickness and old age. 
Preserved by virtue from declension. 
Becomes not weary of attention ; 
But lives, when that exterior grace 
Which first inspired the flame decays. 
Tis gentle, delicate, and kind. 
To faults compassionate or bhnd. 
And will with sympathy endure 
Those evils it would gladly cure : 
But angry, coarse, and harsh expression 
Shows love to be a mere profession ; 
Proves that the heart is none of his. 
Or soon expels him if it is. 



THE WINTER NOSEGAY. 

I. 

WHAT nature, alas ! has denied 
To the delicate growth of our isle, 

Art has in measure supplied, 

And winter is deckM with a smile. 

See, Mary, what beauties I bring 
From the shelter of that sunny shed. 



262 TO THE KEY. MR, NEWTON. 

Where the flowers have the charms of the spring, 

Though abroad they are frozen and dead. 
II. 
'Tis a bower of Arcadian sweets, 

Where Flora is still in her prime^ 
A fortress, to which she retreats 

From the cruel assaults of the climeir 
While earth wears a mantle of snow. 

These pinks are as fresh and as gay 
As the fairest and sweetest that blow 

On the beautiful bosom of May, 

Hi. 

See how they have safely survived 

The frowns of a sky so severe ; 
Such Mary's true love, that has liv'd 

Through many a turbulent year. 
The charms of the late blowing rose 

Seem grac'd with a livelier hue, 
And the winter of sorrow best shows 

The truth of a friend such as you. 



TO THE REV. MR. NEWTON. 

AN INVITATIOJJ INTO THE COUNTRY. 
I. 

THE swallows in their torpid state 

Compose their useless wing. 
And bees in hives as idly wait 

The call of early spring. 



TO THE REV. MR, NEWTON. 26S^ 

The keenest frost that binds the stream, 

The wildest wind that blows. 
Are neither felt nor fear*d by them. 

Secure of their repose. 

III. 
But man, all feeling and awake. 

The gloomy scene surveys ; 
With present ills his heart must ache. 

And pant for brighter days. 

IV. 

Old winter, halting o'er the'mead. 

Bids me and Mary mourn ; 
But lovely spring peeps o'er his head. 

And w^hispers your return.. 
y. 
Then April, with her sister May, 

Shall chase him from the bowers. 
And weave fresh garlands every day, 

To crown the smiHng hours. 

VI. 

And, if a tear, that speaks regret 

Of happier times, appear, 
A glimpse of joy, that we have met, 

Shall shine, jaad dry the tear. 



26* 



SOAOICIA. 



TRANSLATION OF PRIOr's 

CHLOE AND EUPHELIA. 

I. 

MERCATOR, vigiles oculos ut fallere possit. 

Nomine sub ticto trans mare mittit opes ; 
Lene sonat liquidumque meis Euphelia chordis, 

Sed solam exoptant te, mea vota, Chloe. 
II. 
Ad speculum ornabat nitidos Euphelia crines. 

Cum dixit mea lux, heus, cane, sume lyram. 
Namque lyram juxta positam cum carmine vidit, 

Suave quidem carmen dulcisonamque lyram. 
III. 
Fila lyrae vocemque paro, suspiria surgunt, 

Et miscent numeris murmui*a maesta meis, 
Dumque tuae memoro laudes, Euphelia, formscj 

Tota anima interea pendet ab ore Chloes, 

IV. 

Subrubet ilia pudore, et contrahit altera frontem> 
Me torquet mea mens conscia, psallo, tremo ; 

Atque Cupidinea dixit Dea cincta corona, 
Heu ! fallendi artem quam didicere parum. 



BOADICEA. 

AN ODE. 
I. 

WHEN the British wamor queen^ 
Bleeding from the Ron^an rods, 



B6ADICIA. 

Sought with an indignant mein, 
Counsel of her country's gods, 
II. 

Sage beneath the spreading oak 
Sat the Druid, hoary chief ; 

Every burning word he spoke 
Full of rage, and full of gi ief. 

ui. 

Princess ! if our aged eyes 

Weep upon thy matchless wrongs, 

^Tis because resentment ties 

All the terrors of our tongues. 

17. 

Kome shall perish--write that word 
In the blood that she has spilt ; 

Perish, hopeless and abhorr'd, 
Deep in ruin as in guilt. 

V. 

Rome, for em.pire far renownM, 
Tra'-nples on a thousand states; 

Soon her pride shall kiss the ground— i 
Hark ! the Gaul is at her gates i 
vr. 

Other Romans shall arise, 

Heedless of a soldier's name ; 

Sounds, not arms, shall v.'in the prize- 
Harmony the path to fame. 

VOL. 11, Y 



ite? 



^66 HIR0I9M« 

VI!. 

Then the progeny that springs 

From the forests of our land, 
Arm'd with thunder, clad with wings, 

Shall a wider world command* 
viu. 
Regions Caesar never knew 

Thy posterity shall sway, 
Where his eagles never flew. 

None invincible as they. 

IX. 

Such the bard's prophetic words, 
Pregnant with celestial fire, 

Bending, as he swept the chords 
Of his sweet but awful lyre. 

X. 

She, wnth all a monarch's pride. 
Felt them in her bosom glow ; 

Rush'd to battle, fought and died ; 
Dying, hurl'd them at the foe. 

Ruffians, pitiless as proud, 

Heaven awards the vengeance due i 
Empire is on us bestowed. 

Shame and ruin wait for yout 



HEROISM. 

THERE was a time when Etna's silent fire . T 
Slept unperceiv'd, the mountain yet entire ; 
When, conscious of no danger from below, 
She tower'd a cloud-capt pyramid of snow. 



HEROISM* 267 

No thunders shook with deep intestine sound 
The blooming groves that girdled her around. 
Her unctuous olives, and her purple vines, 
(Unfelt the fury of those bursting mines) 
The peasant's hopes, and not in vain assur'd. 
In peace upon her sloping sides matur*d. 
When on a day, like that of the last doom, 
A conflagration labouring in her womb. 
She teem'd and heav*d with an infernal birth, 
That shook the circling seas and solid earth. 
Dark and voluminous the vapours rise, 
And hang their horrors in the neighb'ring skies. 
While through the Stygian vale that blots the day* 
In dazzling streaks the vivid lightnings play. 
But, oh \ what muse, and in what povvera of song, 
Gan trace the torrent as it burns along ? 
Havcc and devastation in the van. 
It marches o'er the prostrate works of man- 
Vines, olives, herbage, forests dissppear, 
And all the charms of a Sicilian year. 

Revolving seasons, fruitless as they pass, 
See it an uninformed and idle mass : 
Without a soil i* invite the tiller's care, 
Or blade that might redeem it from despair. 
Yet time at length (what will not time achieve ?) 
Clothes it with earth, and bids the produce live. 
Once more the spiry myrtle crowns the glade, 
And ruminating flocks enjoy the shade. 
Oh, bliss precarious, and unsafe retreats, 
Oh charming paradise of short-liv'd sweets ! 



^es 



HKROI-SM-. 



The self-same gale that wafts the fragrance round 
Brings to the distant ear a sullen sound ; 
Again the mountain feels th' imprisoned foe, 
Again pours ruin on the vale below. 
Ten thousand swains the wasted scene deplore, 
That only future ages can restore. 

Ye monarchs, whom the lure ofhonour draw*, 
Who write in blood the merits of your cause, 
Who strike the blow, then plead your own defence-^- 
Glory your aim, but justice your pretence ; 
Behold in -Etna's emblematic fires 
The mischiefs your ambitious pride inspires ! 

Fast by the stream that bounds your just domain,. 
And tells you where ye have a right to reign, 
A nation dwells, not envious of your throne, 
Studious of peace, their neighbors', and their own. 
Ill-fated race ! how deeply must they rue 
Their only crime> vicinity to you ! 
The trumpet sounds, your legions swarm abroad^ 
Through the ripe harvest lies their destin'd road ; 
At every step beneath their feet they tread 
The life of multitudes, a nation's bread !' 
Earth seems a gai-den in its loveliest dress 
Before them, and behind a wilderness. 
Famine, and pestilence, her first-born son,. 
Attend to finish what the sword begun ; 
And, echoing praises such as fiends might earn,, 
And folly pays, resound at your return ; 
A calm succeeds ; but plenty, with her train 
Of heartfelt joys, succeeds not soon again, 



^ H£KOISM. 26$ 

And years of pining indigence must sho^ 
What scourges are the gods^that rule belovr. 

Yet man, laborious man, by slow degreei, 
(Such is his thirst of opulence and ease) 
Plies all the sinews of industrious toil, 
Gleans up the refuse of the general spoil, 
Rebuilds the towers that smok'd upon the plain, 
And the sun gilds the shining spires again. 

Increasing commerce and reviving art 
Renew the quarrel on the conqueror's part ; 
And the sad lesson must be learn'd once more. 
That wealth within is ruin at the door. 

What are ye, monarchs, laurel 'd heroes say — 
But iEtnas of the suffering world ye sway ? 
Sweet nature, stripped of her embroidered robe, 
Deplores the wasted regions of her globe ; 
And stands a witness at truth's awful bar, 
To prove you, there, destroyers as ye are. 
Oh, place me in some heaven-protected isle. 
Where peace, and equity, and freedom smile ; 
Where no volcano pours his fiery flood. 
No crested warrior dips his plume in blood; 
Where power secures what industry has won ; 
Where to succeed is not to be undone ; 
A land that distant tyrants haste in vain, 
In Britain's isle, beneath a George's reign ! 
Y 2 



1270 POET, OYSTER, ANS SIKSITlVE PLA^T. 

THE POET, THE OYSTER, AND SEN. 
SITIVE PLANT. 

AN Oyster, cast upon the shore, 
Was heard, though never heard before. 
Complaining in a speech well worded. 
And worthy thus to be recorded*— 

Ah, hapless wretch, condemn'd to dw^'U 
Forever in my native shell ; 
Ordain'd to move when others please. 
Not for my own content or ease ; 
But toss'd and buffetted about. 
Now in the water, and now out, 
^Twere better to be born a stone. 
Of ruder shape, and feeling none» 
Than with a tenderness like mine. 
And sensibilities so Sne ! 
I envy that unfeeling shrub. 
Fast rooted against every rub. 
The plant he meant grew not far off. 
And felt the sneer with scorn enough ; 
Was hurt, disgusted, mortified. 
And with asperity repUed. 

When, cry the botanists — and stare — 
Did plants eall'd sensitive grow there ? 
No matter when — a poet's muse is 
To make them grow just where she chooses. 



POOT, OYSTER, AND SENSlTrtE f LANT. 271 

You, shapeless nothing in a dish— i 
You, that are but almost a fish— i 
I scorn your coarse insinuation, 
And have most plentiful OGcasioii 
To wish myself the rock I view, 
Or such another dolt as you : 
For many a grave and learned clerk. 
And many a gay unlettered spark, 
With curious touch examines me. 
If I can feel as well as he ; 
And, when I bend, retire and shrink. 
Says— Well, 'tis more than one would think t 
Thus life is spent (oh, fie upon't!) 
la being touch' d, aad ciying — ^Don't ! 

A Poet, in his evening walk. 
Overheard and check'd this idle talk. 
And your fine sense, he said, and yours^ 
Whatever evil it endures, 
Deserves not, if so soon offended. 
Much to be pitied or commended. 
Disputes, though short, are far too long. 
Where both ahke are in the wrong ; 
Your feelings, in their full amount. 
Are iall upon your own account. 

You, in your grotto-work enclosed. 
Complain of being4:hus exposed ; 
Yet nothing feel in that rough coaty 
Save when the knife is at your throaty 
Wherever driven by wind or tide. 
Exempt from every ill beside. 



572 ON THE RECEIPT OP 

And, as for you, my Lady Squeamish, 
Who reckon every touch a blemish, 
If all the plants that can be found 
Embellishing the scene around 
Should droop and wither where they grow. 
You would not feel at all — not you* 
The noblest minds their virtue prove 
By pity, sympathy and love ; 
These, these are feelings truly fine, 
And prove their owner half divine. 

His censure reach'd them as he dealt it. 
And each by shrinking shew'd he felt it. 



ON THE RECEIPT OV 

MY MOTHER'S PICTURE 

OUT OF NORFOLK. 

I 
THE GIFT OF MY COUSIN ANN BODHAM* 

OH that those lips had language ! Life has paa»*d 

With me but roughly since I heard thee last. 

Those lips are thine — thy own sweet smiles I see, 

The same that oft in childhood solac'd me ; 

Voice only fails, else how distinct they say, 

•< Grieve not, my child, chase all thy fears away ! *^ 

The meek intelligence of those dear eyes 

(Blest be the art that can immortalize, 

The art that baffles time's tyrannic claim 

To quench it) here shines on me still the same. 



WY mother's PieTU«Rfi. S73t' 

Faithful remembrancer of one so dear. 
Oh welcome guest, though unexpected here ! 
Who bidd^st me honour with an artless song, 
Affectionate, a mother lost so long, 
I will obey, not willingly aloiie, 
Bat gladly, as the precept &re her own ; 
And, while that face renews my filial grief, 
Fancy shall weave a charm for my relief-^ 
Shall steep me in Elysian reverie, 
A momentary dream, that thou art she* 

My mother r when I learn*d that thou wast dead. 
Say, wast thou conscious of the tears I shed i 
Hover'd thy spirit o*er thy sorrowing son. 
Wretch even then, life's journey just begun ? 
Perhaps thou gav'st me, though unseen, a kiss ; 
Perhaps a tear, if souls can weep in bliss — 
Ah that maternal smile ! k answers — Yes. 
I heard the bell tolled on thy burial day, 
I saw the hearse tliat bore thee slow away, 
A ad, turning from my nurs*ry window, drew 
A long, long sigh, and wept a last adieu ! 
But was it such ? — it was. — Where thou art gone 
Adieus and farewels are a sound unknown. 
May I but meet thee on that peaceful shore. 
The parting sound shall pass my lips no more ! 
Thy maidens griev'd themselves at my concern. 
Oft gave me promise of a quick retura. 
What ardently I wish'd, I long belie v'd, 
And, disappointed still, was still deceiv'd ; 



i 



1T# 0» tHi HfECEIft OP 

By disappointment every day beguil*d, 
Dupe of io-morroiu even from a child. 
Thus many a sad to-morrow came and went> 
Till, all my stock of infant sorrow spent, 
I leani'd at last submissicp to my lot. 
But, though I less deplor'd thee, ne'er forgot. 

Where once we dwelt our name is heard no more, 
Children not thine have trod my nurs'ry floor ; 
And where the gard'ner Robin, day by day, 
Drew me to school along the pubhc way, 
Delighted with my bauble coach, and wrapt 
In scarlet mantle warm, and velvet capt, 
*Tis now become a history little known, 
That once we called the pastoral house our own. 
Short liv'd possession ! but the record fair, 
That memory keeps of all thy kindness there. 
Still outlives many a storm that has effac'd 
A thousand other themes less deeply trac'd. 
Thy nightly visits to my chamber made, 
That thou might^st know me safe and warmly laid ; 
Thy morning bounties ere I left my home, 
The biscuit or confectionary plum : 
The fragrant waters on my cheeks bestow'd, 
By thy own hand, till fresh they shone and glow'd : 
All this, and, more endearing still than all. 
Thy constant flow of love, that knew no fall. 
Ne'er roughen'd by those cataracts and breaks 
That humour interposed too often makes ; 
All this still legible in memory's page, 
And still, to be so to my latest age. 



MT mother's riCTTIliE ^9 

Adds joy to duty, makes mc glad to pay 
Such honours to thee as my numbers may ; 
Perhaps a frail memorial, but sincere, 
Not scorn'd in heaven, though little* notic'd here, 

Cogld time, his flight revers'd, restore the hours 
When playing with thy vesture's tissued flowers, 
The violet, the pink, and jessamine, 
I prickM them into paper with a pin, 
(And thou wast happier than myself the while, 
Would*st softly speak^ and stroke my head and smile) 
Gould those few pleasant hours again appear, 
Might one wish bring them, would I wish them here ? 
1 would not trust my heart — the dear delight 
Seems so to be desir'd, perhaps I might.— 
But no— what here we call our life is such. 
So little to be lov'd, and thou so much, 
That I should ill requrte thee, to constrain 
Thy unbound spirit into bonds again. 

Thou, as a gallant bark from Albion's coaH 
(The storms all weathered and the ocean .cross'd) 
Shoots into port at some well-haven 'd isle, 
Where spices breathe and brighter seasons smile, 
There sits quiescent on the floods that show 
Her beauteous form reflected clear below, 
While airs ipripregnated with incense play 
Around her, fanning light her streamers gay ; 
So thou, with sails how swift ! hast reachM the shore 
^ Where tempests never beat nor billows roar,"* 

* Garth. 



2V6 CN THE &ECFIPT OF, ftc. 

And thy lovM consort on the dangerous tid« 
Of Hfe, Icng since, h*is anchci'd at thy side* 
Eut n:e, sca>ce hoping to attain that rest, 
jAhvays from port withheld, always distress'd*^ 
Mc liC^^ hpg winds drive devious, tempest toss'd. 
Sails iipt, seams opening wide, and compass lost, 
Ar.d cay by c'ay rcme current's thwarting forc^ 
Sets n e ncre dirtant frcm a prosperous course, 
I ut (;h, tie thought tha*, thou art safe, and he I 
Tlat thought is joy, arrive vs hat may to me. 
My boapt is not that I deduce my birth 
pre m loins enthron d, and rulers of the earth ; 
But higher far m.y picud pretensions rise — 
The son of parents pabb'd into the skies. 
And now, farewel — time, unrevok'd, has run 
His wonted course, yet what I wished is done. 
By contemplation's help, not sought in vain, 
I seem t' have liv'd my childhood o'er again ; 
To have renew'd the joys that once were mine^ 
Without the sin of violating thine ; 
And, while the wings of fancy still are free, 
And I can view this mimic shew of thee. 
Time has but half succeeded in his theft — 
Thyself remov'd, thy power to sooth me lefi» 



END OF VOL. II. 



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